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Why do people walk in the suburbs? An analysis of how spatial configuration and land use diversity contribute to walkability

Vaughan, LS; Geddes, I; (2014) Why do people walk in the suburbs? An analysis of how spatial configuration and land use diversity contribute to walkability. (Adaptable Suburbs Project 01/2014). Adaptable Suburbs Project, UCL: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Most current research looking at how planning and urban design can contribute to walkability compares built environment measures such as connectivity, diversity and land use. This working paper contributes to this domain by reporting on a pilot study which used space syntax measures of route choice to analyse self-reported walked routes and planned activities within three outer London suburban neighbourhoods. Using a bespoke questionnaire on a wide array of activities coupled with self-reported route traces the study related the through-movement potential of the street network to the intensity of routes and land use diversity through each of the three areas. Using data on people's reasons for walking and actual routes, adjusting for differences between different groups of users, the aim was to see whether urban configuration affects patterns of movement in the suburban realm. The findings show that route availability is associated with increased walking along routes with 'active' land uses, notwithstanding the variety of activities taken during a walk. They also reveal clear differences in usage patterns and trip length according to the degree of familiarity with the areas as well as the location of physical barriers to walking routes, such as railway lines. Greater use of green spaces is found to be associated with their integration into the spatial network and local inter-visibility. The findings also tentatively suggest that routes with increased network centrality are more likely to be used for multi-purpose trips. The results suggest that improved planning and design can increase walking in an area, leading both to local vitality as well as potentially to the health of individuals.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Why do people walk in the suburbs? An analysis of how spatial configuration and land use diversity contribute to walkability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Walkability, space syntax, suburban town centres, route choices, London
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1418543
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