Rural Walkability Projects
A citizen science project to identify environmental characteristics that influence walkability and physical activity in rural Tasmania
The environments where people live, learn, work, play and age are important influences on physical activity, health and wellbeing. More walkable environments support more active lifestyles which decreases the risk of developing health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. This is particularly important in rural areas of Australia where people are less physically active and poor health is more common.
About the project
This project will develop walkability benchmarks for rural communities, and will co-design with community members, practitioners and policy makers a practical and scalable smart tool. This tool will enable rural communities to identify and prioritise aspects of the local built environment that impact on walkability and physical activity.
Using citizen science and co-design approaches, the research team will work closely with local leaders and residents in rural Tasmanian communities during data collection, analysis and interpretation to identify potential areas for change in the community. Local leaders and residents will be directly involved in data collection, which will involve auditing the physical environment and local policies and programs using established tools, capturing photos of important town features, and discussions with local community leaders and residents.
We will then work with communities to identify local priorities and discuss appropriate approaches to sharing and advocating for change based on the findings.
- The development of benchmarks for walkability in rural towns
- The development of a smart tool that enables rural communities to audit aspects of the local built environment that impact on walkability and physical activity
- Identification of community priorities, potentially informing town planning and advocacy efforts
- Increased knowledge and understanding of how to improve walkability and promote physical activity in rural communities
- Enhanced community engagement, social participation, and community capital
Participate in the study
Do you live in St Helens, Zeehan or Snug? We are currently recruiting participants from these three Tasmanian towns to be Community Champions or Citizen Scientists for the study.
To register your interest, please contact Dr. Subhash Koirala at Subhash.Koirala@utas.edu.au.
Pilot project reports
- UPROAR Summary Report (PDF)
- UPROAR Rural Report: Ouse (PDF)
- UPROAR Rural Report: Dover (PDF)
- UPROAR Rural Report: Smithton (PDF)
Key people and partners
- Associate Professor Verity Cleland, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania
- Professor Anna Timperio, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University
- Dr Kim Jose, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania
- Associate Professor Melanie Davern, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT
- Mr Dion Lester, Local Government Association of Tasmania
- Ms Kate Garvey, Public Health Services, Tasmanian Department of Health
- Dr Yvonne Laird, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney
- Dr Samantha Rowbotham, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney
- Dr Subhash Koirala, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania
The project is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) with support from the Tasmanian Government (Public Health Services, Department of Health), the Local Government Association of Tasmania, and the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and the University of Tasmania (Menzies Institute for Medical Research).