Relationship between walkability of neighborhood and physical activity
Walkability is a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Walkability has many health, environmental, and economic benefits. Factors influencing walkability include the presence or absence and quality of footpaths, sidewalks or other pedestrian rights-of-way, traffic and road conditions, land use patterns, building accessibility, and safety, among others. Walkability is an important concept in sustainable urban design (Grignaffini, Cappellanti & Cefalo 2008). The high-walkability neighborhood had a concentration of nonresidential land uses (restaurants, grocery or convenience stores, and other small retail stores) along the main corridor of the neighborhood, whereas the low-walkability neighborhood was mostly residential and had only a small commercial area on the neighborhood periphery. The high-walkability neighborhood had a mostly grid like street pattern, with short block lengths and few cul-de-sacs, which is indicative of greater street connectivity. The low- walkability neighborhood had longer block lengths, a mixture of grid like and curvilinear street patterns, and more cul-de-sacs (Saelens et al. 2003). A number of studies have demonstrated that neighbourhood design is associated with increased levels of physical activity among residents because of its impact on their travel choices. Neighbourhood features such as population density, employment density, land use mix, and street design have all been associated with the walking and cycling habits of residents. While these neighbourhood features do not appear to be related to recreational walking (i.e. walking for physical activity), they seem to be strongly related to utilitarian walking (i.e. walking directed at a purpose such as errands) (Saelens et al. 2003, PulleyblankPatrick et al. 2006). For example: In a Montreal study, women aged 45 and older living in neighbourhoods with a higher density of destinations, such as shops...
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