University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Built Environment, Climate Change, and Health: Opportunities for Co-Benefits

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2008
Level City or Town
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Environment & Natural Resources, Health, Transportation & Mobility
The built environment, climate change, and public health are closely connected; human-generated greenhouse gases derive from aspects of the built environment such as transportation systems and infrastructure, building construction and operation, and land-use planning. Transportation affects human health directly through air pollution and subsequent respiratory effects, as well as indirectly through physical activity behavior. Buildings contribute to climate change, influence transportation, and affect health through the materials utilized, decisions about sites, electricity and water usage, and landscape surroundings. Land use, forestry, and agriculture also contribute to climate change and affect health by increasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, shaping the infrastructures for both transportation and buildings, and affecting access to green spaces. Working across sectors to incorporate a health promotion approach in the design and development of built environment components may mitigate climate change, promote adaptation, and improve public health.

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