Larry Frank

Larry Frank's picture
SCARP | School of Population and Public Health
BLArch, MSc, PhD (U. Washington), AICP, CIP, ASLA
West Mall Annex, Room 235

Bio and CV

Dr. Frank is a Professor and Director of the Health and Community Design Lab at the School of COmmunity and Regional Planning. He is cross-appointed with the School of Population and Public Health and specializes in the interaction between land use, travel behavior, air quality, and health.  He has been studying the effects of neighborhood walkability on travel patterns and sustainability for nearly 20 years.  He has lead or co-authored dozens of papers and two books Health and Community Design, The Impacts of The Built Environment on Physical Activity and Urban Sprawl and Public Health on these topics.  He and his colleagues have also been conducting detailed assessments of fuel consumption and climate change impacts of urban form policies.  Over the past decade Dr. Frank has been working directly with local governments to help translate results from research into practice based tools that can provide direct feedback on the health and environmental impacts of alternative transportation and land development proposals.

Two current research projects he is working on include CHANGE and NEWPATH.

CHANGE (Changes in Health, Activity, and Nutrition Across Geographic Environments) aims to document and evaluate changes in travel patterns, physical activity levels, eating, and built environment factors related to cardiovascular disease risk factors before and after families move within the Metro Vancouver region.

NEWPATH (Neighourhood Environment in Waterloo Region: Patterns of Transportation and Health) is an innovative, transdisciplinary research program focused on evaluating how different urban built environments impact a variety of quality of life factors, including; physical activity, diet, access to food, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. The project’s study area is the Region of Waterloo, a regional municipality located in south-central Ontario.

You can view his research webpage here:

Major Areas of Expertise in Sustainability Planning

1. The linkages between the built environment and human activity patterns – and more specifically, the influence of land use and transportation investment decisions on travel choice. This area of inquiry has been very active over the past decade, resulting in a general understanding that more compact, mixed use and inter connected street networks are associated with lower levels of vehicle use and increased transit and non-motorized travel.

Most relevant course: PLAN 579/SPPH 571, PLAN 580

2. The impact of interactions between the built environment and human health including physical activity and weight, air quality and respiratory conditions, and on social interaction and well-being.

Most relevant course: PLAN 579/SPPH 571

3. The influence of land use and transportation decisions on energy consumption, air quality, and on global warming. This area of interest is focused on the comparative assessment of how specific air pollutants and greenhouse gases are formed and how much we can improve air pollution and reduce CO2 formation through structural changes to the built environment and to the adoption of programmatic strategies to reduce auto usage including employer based incentives, parking fees, car sharing, and other similar actions.

Most relevant course: PLAN 580

PLAN 579/SPPH 571: Public Health, Transportation, and the Built Environment, , PLAN 580: Introduction to Transportation Planning