Can good design help you get rid of your muffin top? According to many studies the answer is yes, and NYC officials are convening today to discuss how to implement even more gut-busting design into the streets of NYC at the Fit City 8 conference at The Center for Architecture. The seminar is open to the public, and attendees will be able to hear from panelists like Amanda Burden, Hon. AIA New York Chapter, of the Department of City Planning; Thomas Farley of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Janette Sadik-Khan of the Department of Transportation; David Burney of the Department of Design + Construction; Victor Calise of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; and Veronica White of the Department of Parks & Recreation about how we can promote physical activity through design.

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“History has shown that environmental design can play a crucial role in improving public health,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “The physical environment influences people’s levels of physical activity and other health-related behaviors. Active Design Guidelines help architects, planners and urban designers combat obesity, diabetes and other chronic health problems by creating structures that promote physical activity. We at the New York City Health Department are proud to partner in this effort. Together, we can make our nation healthier and more sustainable.”

Fit City 8 is (you guessed it) the eighth iteration of the conference and with public health issues like obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma on the rise, it may be the most important one yet. Facilitated by the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the discussion will challenge attendees to explore how the design of our built environment can encourage daily exercise. New York is already one of the most walkable cities in the United States thanks to the public transportation system, wide sidewalks and pedestrian plazas, and the forum hopes to unearth even more more ways to increase physical activity among citizens.

The conference will also outline how the city’s Active Design Guidelines, released in January 2010, are being implemented in New York and around the world. The manual provides architects and urban designers with strategies for creating healthier buildings, streets and urban spaces based on best practices and the latest academic research.

If you can’t make it to the event in person, check out the livestream here.

+ Fit City 8