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Walkability – or the ability to conveniently, safely, comfortably, and pleasurably walk to everyday needs and amenities – has been increasingly tied to improved health, broadly defined to include not just physical and mental health, but also social, community, environmental and even fiscal health. While the US and other Western countries have begun to make strides to increase walkability and promote
healthy placemaking, China continues to push forward car-centric urbanization and along with it rising rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and air pollution. Yet China has a huge opportunity - over 50 new cities, each with populations of over 1 million people, will be built in the next 20 years. This presentation outlines how walkability is tied to the broad concept of health and identifies the key physical, socio-cultural and policy barriers that must be addressed in order to move toward more sustainable development that promotes livability and walkability, thereby enhancing the State – and health – of Chinese cities.