How urban design affects our health | The Globe and Mail

As a behavioural psychologist, James Sallis started out trying to understand how to motivate people to become more physically active. But, like many of his colleagues, he soon found that whatever worked only worked a little, on a few people, for a short time. Soon, Dr. Sallis came to see the modern urban environment as a big part of the problem. 

Dr. Sallis says cities should prioritize pedestrians, bicyclists.

This week, Dr. Sallis also becomes the latest winner of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health, a $50,000 award administered by McGill University. On his way to receiving the prize Dr. Sallis stopped by Toronto’s Metro Hall to share his ideas and findings with city officials and to talk about the significance of place with The Globe and Mail.

Reusable Certificates of Excellence

A reusable certificate of excellence is a transferable token of recognition that anyone can give, and anyone can receive, as an award doing something excellent. In theory, a collection of these certificates might behave in a manner similar to paper currency, except that self-interest would be supplanted by interest in the common good. The project’s efforts so far have focused on developing durable, wallet sized certificates, and on developing a website where each certificate can commented on as it moves from person to person. Some initial successes of this project are reported at

A short promotional video can be found here.

Further development might involve distributing certificates that reward specific types of excellence, such as charitable giving, educational achievement, and participation in health and wellness activities. Anyone who would like to utilize such a system is welcome to do so, and is invited to contact the author for support materials and resources.

Location: Columbia, SC, USA

Young shopper Seth Pinsky, NYCEDC President Darryl Strawberry Shopping for affordable, fresh foods Vegetables

Here are a few photos from the opening of Western Beef in the South Bronx, the first supermarket to open under the City’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program. For more photos, see our Flickr album; learn more about the innovative program to improve access to food in underserved neighborhoods at

Photos courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene