Design and Destinations: Factors Influencing Walking and Total Physical Activity

by A. Forsyth, M. Hearst, J. M. Oakes, K. H. Schmitz
Urban Studies ()


Do people walk more, or less, depending on the physical character of their residential areas rather than merely their individual characteristics? This paper reports findings for the Twin Cities, Minnesota, about how walking and total physical activity are affected by street pattern, 'pedestrian-oriented' infrastructure and amenities, and mixed use or destinations-in shorthand, design and destinations. The effects of density are dealt with in less depth. Like earlier studies, it finds that walking for specific purposes (i.e. travel or leisure) varies in relation to the physical characteristics of places. However, this study using multiple measures of overall walking and physical activity suggests that socially similar people do the same total amount of physical activity in different kinds of places and that level of activity is, on average, low.

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