Benjamin Okenwa is a doctoral student with a research focus on developing computational models that can be used in planning and designing urban open spaces for enhanced physical activity. Benjamin gained his bachelor's degree in Architecture from Covenant University, Nigeria, and a master's degree in Landscape Architecture from Clemson University, US. He has professional experience working as a project design Architect in Nigeria and a Landscape Architectural designer in Los Angeles. Benjamin is conscientiously expanding his knowledge base to understand the designers' role in salutogenic responses to the built environment through designing spaces that respond to contemporary social and behavioral lifestyles while enhancing physical activities. Benjamin is doing his research under Dr. Wasim Jabi's supervision.
Using Computational Models to Engage Design Strategies for Improved Physical Activity in Urban Open Spaces.
Since the late 20th century, there has been a heightened curiosity in the role of the built environment towards improving physical activity levels for the public. Research shows an increase in cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and diabetes which is connected with lack of physical activity and poor food. More studies show that the amount of physical activity has decreased remarkably in recent years, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010 to identify inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor in the global mortality rate.
According to speculated changes in the urban landscape stemming from the United Nations report in 2018, “55% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion expected to increase to 68% by 2050.” Previous research also makes corroborative evidence on a persistent lack of physical activity in the cities/urban areas despite the presence of UOS, which could result from multiple issues such as; unequal distribution, proximity, design, land use, and morphology. This nodus leads the focus of my study, which aims to offer built environment researchers and designers a computational tool that guides the selection of sites for locating Urban Open Spaces that enhance physical activities for the public.