Current Research


The goal of this study is to document the health and financial benefits of sustainable development and transit and active transportation investment in the British Columbia Lower Mainland region. Specifically, we seek to evaluate how levels of land use density, land use mix, connectivity of street networks, and pedestrian design orientation – along with improvements in the levels of service for transit, pedestrian, and cycling – relate with observed levels of physical activity, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and obesity.



The goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between the built environmentfig 1 and annual health care utilization costs in the Vancouver metropolitan region. Specifically, we seek to evaluate the association between the built environment – as measured by neighbourhood walkability, bikeability, and regional accessibility – with annual health care utilization costs in a cohort of individuals aged 35 to 69 participating in the  BC Generations Project (




2011 walkability surface.2013 versionMeasuring the physical characteristics of a neighbourhood is the first step to understanding how walkable it is. Walkability is largely a function of the proximity and connectivity between destinations, or the degree to which we can travel directly between places where we live, work and play. The Health & Community Design Lab developed a tool, called the Walkability Index, to measure the characteristics of the physical environment that contribute to walkable (pedestrian-friendly, transit-supportive) neighbourhood design.



CHANGE (Changes in Health, Activity, and Nutrition over Geographic Environments) aims to document and evaluate changes in travel patterns, physical activity levels, eating, and built environment factors related to cardiovascular disease risk factors before and after families move within the Metro Vancouver region.

Funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Real Estate Foundation of BC. Research Team: Dr. Larry Frank, Dr. Michael Brauer, Dr. Jennifer Black, Dr. Hugh Davies, Cora Craig, and John Millar.


NEWPATH (Neighourhood Environment in Waterloo Region: Patterns of Transportation and Health) is an innovative, transdisciplinary research program focused on evaluating how different urban built environments impact a variety of quality of life factors, including; physical activity, diet, access to food, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. The project’s study area is the Region of Waterloo, a regional municipality located in south-central Ontario.

Funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and the Region of Waterloo. Study team includes researchers and staff from the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Waterloo, and the Region of Waterloo.


This study is concerned with the social and health impacts of constructing an urban greenway in downtown Vancouver. A greenway is a street or path that enhances pedestrian and cyclist connections and serves as a public space. This project is a partnership between the UBC Health and Community Design Lab and City of Vancouver.