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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 118–120 | Cite as

Mapping Stairwell Accessibility in Vancouver’s Downtown Core

  • Erica Moore
  • Brian A. Richter
  • Cindy K. Patton
  • Scott A. LearEmail author
Research

Abstract

Background

The increase in obesity is due in part to changes in the environment that affect behaviours such as physical activity. Stairwells in buildings present an opportunity to increase physical activity in the workplace. We characterized the stairwell accessibility in business buildings in the downtown core of Vancouver.

Methods

Characteristics of the stairwells in business buildings with two or more floors were obtained. Stairwells were characterized based on their visibility from the main entrance, signage, presence of physical door, and interior lighting and space. Building completion year was obtained from the Vancouver City Hall.

Results

A total of 138 buildings in the pre-designated area were eligible for characterization. Due to security concerns, only 123 were assessed. Of those assessed, 54% had stairwells visible from the main entrance, 33% had locked doors and only 18% had signs on the stairwell doors. Of the 83 stairwells that were accessible, 54% and 36% were considered brightly lit and spacious enough for two people, respectively. Only 11% of the buildings studied had accessible stairwells that met all of our accessibility criteria. More recently built buildings tended to have a higher proportion of locked stairwell doors; otherwise, building completion year was not associated with any of the accessibility criteria.

Interpretation

Based on their environmental characteristics, very few buildings were set up in a way that encouraged stair use. For the work environment to be conducive to increased physical activity, building policy will need to consider the implications of design on activity patterns.

MeSH terms

Physical activity urban health public health 

Résumé

Contexte

L’augmentation de l’obésité est due en partie aux changements environnementaux qui ont des incidences sur les comportements comme l’activité physique. Comme les cages d’escalier dans les immeubles offrent la possibilité d’accroître l’activité physique en milieu de travail, nous avons caractérisé leur accessibilité dans les immeubles commerciaux du centre-ville de Vancouver.

Méthode

Nous avons relevé les caractéristiques des cages d’escalier dans les immeubles commerciaux de deux étages et plus: leur visibilité de l’entrée principale, leur signalisation, la présence matérielle d’une porte, ainsi que l’éclairage et l’espace à l’intérieur des cages d’escalier. L’hôtel de ville de Vancouver nous a fourni les dates de construction des immeubles.

Résultats

Il y avait 138 immeubles dans la zone désignée, mais pour des raisons de sécurité, nous n’en avons évalué que 123. De tous les immeubles évalués, 54 % avaient une cage d’escalier visible de l’entrée principale, 33 % avaient des portes de cage d’escalier verrouillées, et 18 % seulement des cages d’escalier étaient indiquées par un panneau sur la porte. Sur les 83 cages d’escalier accessibles, 54 % étaient bien éclairées, et 36 % étaient assez larges pour deux personnes. Seuls 11 % des immeubles à l’étude avaient une cage d’escalier accessible répondant à nos quatre critères d’accessibilité. Dans les immeubles de construction récente, les cages d’escalier avaient tendance à avoir des portes verrouillées; autrement, l’année de construction n’était associée à aucun des critères d’accessibilité.

Interprétation

Très peu d’immeubles sont conçus pour favoriser l’utilisation des escaliers. Pour que les milieux de travail soient propices à l’activité physique, les politiques de construction devraient tenir compte des conséquences de la conception des immeubles sur les schémas d’activité.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Moore
    • 1
  • Brian A. Richter
    • 2
  • Cindy K. Patton
    • 2
    • 3
  • Scott A. Lear
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of KinesiologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Department of Women StudiesSimon Fraser UniversityCanada
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and AnthropologySimon Fraser UniversityCanada
  4. 4.Division of CardiologyUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

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