Carlos Gallinar MCRP '04 to discuss healthy cities, impact of built environment on physical and mental health, Oct.26

October 18, 2016

Carlos Gallinar, AICP, CNU-A, Executive Director for Planning and Innovative School Construction at the El Paso Independent School District in El Paso, Texas and recipient of this year’s Young Alum Award from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, will present the Bloustein School’s 2016 Ruth Ellen Steinman and Edward J. Bloustein Memorial Lecture, “Towards the Healthy City: Urban Planning in the 21st Century,” on Wednesday, October 27, 2016.

The event will be held in the Governor James J. Florio Special Events Forum at the Bloustein School’s Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. It will begin at 4:30 p.m.

A renewed awareness about the need for global sustainability and humanity’s total wellbeing has dominated the early years of the 21st century.  This increased awareness offers an opportunity to advance the discussion about the nexus between our built-environment and the effect it has on our physical and mental health.  This awareness has fueled a discussion about how to improve our neighborhoods, transportation systems, and civic facilities in order to improve and sustain our quality of life.  This is at the very core a public health concern and an urban design debate.  If the adage holds true that we are what we eat, then a corollary adage surely must be, we are what we build.

People are recognizing the vital importance of addressing health concerns through an improved built-environment.  Americans—living in varied neighborhoods across the country and sharing many commonalities—are recognizing the correlation between heart disease and physical inactivity and how this lack of exercise is compounded by building neighborhoods that discourage exercise.  We also know there is a link between diabetes prevention and access to healthy and fresh food.  Increased traffic congestion created by sprawling subdivisions have caused pollution that contributes to respiratory infections. Research also shows a connection between a healthful lifestyle and making it easier for children to walk to school. Most parents, however, do not recognize this link and therefore fail to advocate for one of the most essential urban planning and design concepts for neighborhoods: walkable schools.

In short, it is becoming increasingly familiar that the understanding and improvement of how we design the built environment will help address—or at the very minimum decrease—these public health concerns. This lecture will cover these topics and the important roles urban planners, health practitioners, and residents can play to improve the health of our communities.

The Ruth Ellen Steinman and Edward J. Bloustein Memorial Lecture was established to honor the memory of these two extraordinary individuals. For nearly 19 years, the Blousteins dedicated their enormous energies to Rutgers University. The fund was created in 1988 after Ruth Ellen died following a long and heroic battle with illness. Sadly, there was cause to broaden the purpose of the fund when Edward Bloustein, Rutgers’ beloved president, died suddenly a year later in December 1989. The endowment supports an annual lecture series that is intended to celebrate the values and interests Ruth Ellen and Ed cherished and cultivated throughout their lives, namely the preservation of animal species and the natural environment; the celebration of love, happiness, and laughter as tools of clinical medicine; and the exploration and promotion of humane values.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is requested by visiting

1.5  American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certification Maintenance credits available for this event.

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