Areas of Expertise:
health effects of urban design | public health | functional separation | childhood obesity | pediatrics
Dr. Richard Jackson is a pediatrician and professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and an expert on how the environment, especially the built environment affects health. For nine years Jackson was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta and saw how the dominance of functional separation in American cities contributed to public health problems like obesity, inactivity and depression. Functional separation is the concept that people live in residential suburbs and commute to their jobs — primarily in cars, which discourages walking and biking — in urban areas. Jackson asserts that America has legislated, funded and has been built to meet the needs of cars, not people. Jackson has written three books and also hosted a 2012 public television series, “Designing Healthy Communities,” on the topic.
Jackson has been involved with the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp. contributing to the L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan to help ensure that the redesign of the river includes parks, bike paths and trails.