Blue Zones in Urban Planning

Throughout history there were developers who believed that their urban development plans directly impacted the quality of life for the residents who resided in that area. Urban development that help promotes healthy living and longevity are considered blue zones. This concept stemmed from research that suggested there were areas in the world where people lived longer. These communities had lower cases of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and a higher percentage of residents that live in the 90s and 100s. Researcher Dan Buettner stated the following principles encouraged health and longevity amongst the people in the community:

    1. Engage in moderate and regular physical activity
    2. Have a life purpose, with meaningful activity throughout life
    3. Reduce stress
    4. Have a moderate caloric intake consisting of a plant-based diet (semi-vegetarianism)
    5. Alcohol may be consumed, but in moderation
    6. Engage in family life, social life, and spirituality/religion

The blue zone principles have been implemented through various urban planning designs. The following developments that are implemented in urban development across the country may include the following:

    • Walkable environments to reduce the need for cars
    • Increased vertical density and mixed-use diversity to encourage walking
    • A mix of housing options to encourage a multi-generational population
    • A mix of development types beyond residential and office spaces
    • Local gathering places, parks, and plazas
    • Locally owned farm-to-table restaurants
    • Community gardens and rooftop gardens
    • A variety of community events and programs on an ongoing basis

Research provided from: