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Suburban walkability: understanding the role of urban design and residential preferences

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Neighbourhood design can play a role in facilitating walking within the neighbourhood. Elements in the built environment that are believed to play a role in walking include density, land use mix, connectivity, and urban design. This capstone project measures and compares walking frequencies, the number of observed pedestrians as well as self reported walking trips, in two suburban neighbourhoods. The neighbourhoods differ in many aspects of their built form: one neighbourhood is a neo-traditional design (NTD) while the comparison community is conventional suburban design (CSD). Neighbourhood perceptions, residential preferences, and travel attitudes were assessed. Higher observed and self-reported walking frequency can be found in the NTD neighbourhood. Walking frequency is higher among all NTD residents, not only those that prefer urban form features related to walking. The results indicate that the built environment does play a role in utilitarian walking within the neighbourhood.
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