How an Emerging Field and Dominant Social Forces Changed the Face of America…And Still Are


Just Over a Century Ago

From 150 years ago to today, the face of America has changed dramatically. The majority of U.S. workers used to be farmers – mom and dad canned tomatoes and broke down meat in the kitchen while the children fed the calves in the field. Communities featured prominent town squares with markets in proximity to the places people lived and gathered. Fast forward through the last century and the rise of industrial agricultural has both enabled the production of a surplus food supply and led to a convenience culture featuring processed and highly refined food products. The creation of the national freeway system and suburbia paved the way for the car as the primary mode of transportation, and a necessary one for accessing goods and services outside the suburban grid.

What spurred these changes in American society and what has been the impact?
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Topeka Bike Share Health Impact Assessment

Topeka Bike Share HIA Report 2015

Photo by Megan Rogers.

Bike share programs provide bicycles to the public for short-use trips through a paid membership or pay-as-you-go fee structure, but how do such programs impact community health, if at all?

A Health Impact Assessment was undertaken for the Topeka Bike Share program between Dec. 2014 and Dec. 2015. The final report is now available and can be downloaded by clicking the link below.

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What’s for Lunch? Choice and Health in the Modern Work Environment

Cake in the Break Room

Photo by WWStarBuckD

The thing about food is that we all eat. It’s not like smoking or alcohol, substances that can be quit cold turkey. Quitting food isn’t an option and unlike smoking that has laws governing where people can light up, food is everywhere. From the fast food restaurant on the corner to the cheap vending machine and the company break room exploding with cake at every birthday, it has become increasingly difficult to stay healthy in the modern work environment. So what tactics can employees take to avoid overindulging in the guilty stuff, while still satisfying the urge to snack?

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What Boomers Want


Over the next few decades 50% of the U.S. population will be 60 years of age or older. As Dr. Dennis Domer explains it, we will have a gerontocracy run mostly by women. But we’d be mistaken if we think the boomers are going to move quietly into nursing homes. Domer and the team he works with have something different in mind. Continue reading

Aging in the Urban Built Environment

Elderly woman crossing city intersection.

Photo by Pietroizzo.

Baby boomers are starting to retire and with that comes the  challenge of supporting their needs. When most of us think of our parents or grandparents aging, I’m guessing we picture them in a  suburban home or, eventually perhaps, a care facility just down the road. What if, like many young people today migrating to cities, our elders instead choose to see their retirement years out in an urban center? Continue reading