Blue Zones: Rethinking the American Landscape
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Research in public health, urban design and planning has examined associations between the physical environment and community health and well-being. National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner, along with a team of experts, including anthropologists, historians, dietitians, and geneticists, studied various hotspots of longevity across the globe called “Blue Zones.” In this paper, the Blue Zones research will be analyzed through a spatial lens, attempting to find correlations between health and wellbeing, Blue Zones’ longevity, urban design, and the environment. Implications of the Blue Zones research are outlined for general understanding. One of the main questions of this research is how can we apply the common habits and practices found in the Blue Zones to the United States? After thorough analysis, environmental and community factors appear to add to variance in longevity far beyond individual factors. Complications the study illustrates and future research directions are detailed in the conclusion. The Blue Zones, public health, urban design and planning literatures provide a valuable starting point for further multidisciplinary research on environmental contributions to longevity and public health outcomes.