- Old neighborhoods showcasing new urbanism principles to promote walking for transport   click here to open paper content579 kb
by    Grant, Paula | paula.grant@usq.edu.au   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The built environment shapes our transport choices and has a significant
impact on the
environmental, economic and social wellness of communities. This paper
shows that older
urban neighbourhoods have displayed the compactness, connectivity, density,
lot layout and
land-use mix to be walkable long before the term new urbanism was coined.
The built environment shapes our transport choices and has a significant
impact on the environmental, economic and social wellness of communities.
Compact land use patterns, as opposed to urban sprawl, can improve public
health by providing the environment to make walking a feasible mode of

Toowoomba’s older inner-city neighbourhhods have the built form
characteristics of compactness, connectivity, density, lot layout and mix
of uses to be walkable. Using existing literature, geographic information
systems, data, survey results and a ped-shed tool, I will show that
although being walkable and exhibiting Smart Growth and New Urbanism
characteristics very few people walk to work in Toowoomba’s urban centre
for a variety of reasons. I will argue that personal value propositions and
attitudes are as influential for walking for transport as urban

Systematic reviews (Cervero & Kockelman, 1997; Duncan et al., 2010; L.
Frank, Engelke, & Schmid, 2003; Giles-Corti et al., 2013) have concluded
that the built environment attributes, especially land use patterns are
consistently related to physical activity in general and to walking for
transport in particular. Different factors impacting on walking for
transport, including proximity, connectivity, land use mix and
infrastructure have been identified (Duncan et al., 2010; L. Frank, Kavage,
& Litman, 2006; L. D. Frank et al., 2006). Reviews of the public health and
preventative medicine literature indicate that access to recreation
settings and the aesthetics of activity settings are related to walking.
Reviews of the transport and urban planning literature indicate that ease
of pedestrian access to nearby destinations is related to walking (Saelens,
Sallis, & Frank, 2003).

A public health priority to promote participation in moderate intensity and
regular exercise has emerged over the last ten years. Walking is free, is
associated with significant health benefits and is the most common
moderate-intensity activity of adults (Manson et al., 1999).

Adults’ physical activity levels can be increased significantly by walking
for transport. Improved understanding of the factors impacting on walking
for transport can lead to evidence-based policies and programmes. Existing
models indicate that personal, social and physical environment factors
should all be taken into account. National agencies have identified built
environment and policy changes as essential for increasing walking.(ALGA,
Foundation, & PIA, 2009; Owen et al., 2007)

Leading an active lifestyle with moderate physical activity for 30 minutes
every day for adults leads to numerous health and social benefits for
individuals (Ageing, 2013). As documented and discussed for many decades
physical activity can have physical, social and environmental benefits such
as reducing obesity, encouraging social interaction, reducing motor vehicle
emissions and lowering health care costs (Foundation, 2009). It is accepted
that places where people are seen to be walking are perceived as safe and
friendly places to live and visit. Despite all of these benefits and
significant investment in publicity campaigns to promote activity such as
“Life Be In It” in Australia since the 1980s Australian adults are still
not “getting off the couch” and responding to the campaigns persona -
Norm’s call for moderate exercise.

It becomes clear that not enough is understood about why people don’t walk
to and from work when the journey is walkable. As planners and policy
makers we can influence, facilitate and provide the environment both
physically and socially to overcome some real and perceived barriers to
walking and contribute to the health and well-being of communities.
click here to open paper content  Click to open the full paper as pdf document
click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper  Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper