The Physical Environment is the built
and natural environment in which we live, including open and public
The physical environment includes the following targets for intervention:
Housing. Affordable, adequate local housing
located within viable communities near jobs provides a buffer to
other social determinants of health.
Environmental toxins in the
air, soil, water and in building structures and materials have a known
impact on health. Particulate air pollution can trigger asthmatic
reactions as well as other illnesses. The poor are exposed disproportionately
to many environmental toxins.
Transport, which the
Work Group identified as a priority area within this domain.
dependence on the car contributes to increased levels of air pollution,
reduced physical activity and the loss of community. The motor vehicle
transportation network pits pedestrians and bicyclists against automobiles
and trucks to create neighborhood streets that are physically unsafe.
Solid Facts devotes an entire chapter to transport, which begins
by saying that “cycling, walking and the use of public transport
promote health in four ways. They provide exercise, reduce fatal accidents,
increase social contact and reduce air pollution.”