ID 539: Built Environment, Human Energy Expenditure, and Public Health

At the completion of this course, students will have an understanding of different built environments and human energy expenditure in those environments. As two examples, parks provide mental and social benefits but many park users have low human energy expenditure (sports spectators, slow walkers, park bench sitters, etc.). In contrast to parks, bicyclists in bicycle environments have higher energy expenditure. During this course, measures such as Health Impact Assessments (HIA) and policies such as Complete Streets will be studied to assess whether high human energy expenditure was considered. Through the students' understanding of the built environment and human energy expenditure measures such as METs, students will understand the ways of translating information on obesity, physical activity, and health into practice effectively. The course is intended for undergraduate students, graduate students, and individuals interested in the design of the built environment. Those enrolled may be interested in environmental health, landscape architecture, park design, exercise physiology, public health, urban planning, government, engineering, METs, human energy expenditure measures, HIA, and walking and bicycling in all populations. The focus will be on creating urban forms with high human energy expenditure to lessen obesity, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. This course is intended to fully address health and obesity reduction through the built environment in more ways than only recommending that individuals engage in physical activity.


Anne Lusk







Course ID: 


Research Areas: 

  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2020-2021 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

Connect with us

Follow HUCE to stay updated on energy and the environment at Harvard and beyond.

Subscribe to our mailing list