Chelsea Davis-Iowa State

Why Are Many Rural Towns Green But Unhealthy?

By February 17, 2023

Vulnerable populations in small towns face significantly more public health risks than statewide averages, finds new research in Iowa. Study leader Benjamin Shirtcliff focused on three Iowa towns—Marshalltown, Ottumwa, and Perry—as a proxy for studying shifting populations in rural small towns, in particular how the built environment (where people live and work) and environmental risks affect vulnerable populations there. Shirtcliff, associate professor of landscape architecture at Iowa State University, wants to understand how small towns can prioritize investment into their built environment for vulnerable populations on the heels of declining economic resources due to population change. [Related: What is Walkability?…