May 25, 2018

Planning an integrated active travel and green infrastructure system for mental well-being in disadvantaged communities

This presentation is sponsored by ITS-Davis’ partnership with the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center.


1:40pm - 3:00pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


Gary (Hongwei) Dong, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning, California State University, Fresno


This study explores how we can plan active travel and green infrastructures to improve residents’ mental wellbeing through a combination of crowdsourcing technology and traditional survey questionnaires and interviews. The study focuses on residents in disadvantaged communities in Fresno, California, which has one of the highest concentrated poverty rates and the lowest accessibility of urban parks among American cities. The crowdsourcing technology allows the research team to collect data at finer spatial scales in a real-time fashion. Online database is being developed to store the real-time data that we collect through a smart phone app. We also engage and interview local elected officials and staff as well as residents in the studied communities. The interview helps us to understand their perspectives regarding how the active travel and green infrastructure in studied communities can be improved for mental wellbeing. We will also organize a public workshop to engage the public more broadly. The findings of this study will advance our understanding of the relationship between urban infrastructure, active travel and physical activities, and public health (particularly mental health). This study will be able to propose urban policy solutions to health and infrastructure inequalities that plague many American cities, particularly those disadvantaged communities in small- and medium-sized cities. This study is sponsored by a research grant awarded by the Smart & Connected Communities Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Hongwei Dong is an Associate Professor in city and regional planning at the California State University, Fresno. He is on sabbatical leave and a visiting scholar with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. His research interests include transportation and land use, healthy and smart cities, and housing affordability and equity. The results of his studies are published in top international journals such as Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Journal of Transport Geography, Landscape and Urban Planning, Urban Studies, etc. He is now leading a NSF funded project to study how to plan an integrated active travel and green infrastructure system for mental wellbeing in disadvantaged communities through crowdsourcing technology.