Thursday, September 04, 2003

On Urban Sprawl and Obesity…

A few days ago, the Houston Chronicle ran an article about a new study linking America’s current problems with obesity with urban sprawl and the lack of integration in community design. Indeed, here in Houston, that’s evident everywhere. It can be downright dangerous to walk down the streets whether from choking fumes or having to walk in the street; and it is fairly dangerous to try to ride a bicycle to most places. Mass transit is almost non-existent, and what does exist works only for a small segment of the population on schedules that match up. It’s well known that you must have a car to have a life here. You’ll find it hard to get a job, much less do anything else, unless you have one.

Integration just is not an American keyword. But the lack of integration is a symptom, not a cause. Balance is not something most Americans know, and integration and balance always play together. One without the other cannot exist. If we don’t know how to achieve those two in our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives, we certainly can’t figure out how to build it into our communities. Where is the study on that?