Accepted Arguments for Urban Walkability

Accepted Arguments for Urban Walkability

Introduction

The transit oriented development approach is being adopted by many cities around the world particularly those contested with transforming their car dependent neighbourhoods into more habitable and sustainable developments The simplest way to describe the principles of TOD according to Calthorpe 1993 is moderate and high density housing along with complementary public uses jobs retail and services concentrated in mixed used development at strategic points along the regional transit system Yet much as connectivity to regional significance through transit is important it is the communities close interaction supported by a walkable environment that Calthorpe claims is the key aspect of any flourishing TOD

Over the years pedestrian friendly design thus generated considerable interests and a significant amount of literature and influential policy on urban walkability in TODs were developed in the Western worlds temperate urban zones Presently however many of the worlds fastest developing urban areas are found in subtropical latitudes OHare2006 Western Australia and particularly Perth the urban centre of the region is one such case and serves as the focus of this research The paper explores the key aspects and physical qualities of built environment related to urban walkability with an intent to encourage further discussion and studies on how subtropical TODs can be designed to enhance pedestrian movement as well as question whether the orthodoxy of existing urban design principles require some alterations to better adapt to subtropical regions

The paper establishes the accepted arguments and urban design principles essential to urban walkability and develops from a review of urban design sustainability a framework that would encourage pedestrians movement and transport waiting in a subtropical TOD A literature review is produced to confirm the growing importance of walkability and ultimately the paper explores through field observations how the established urban walkability principles apply in the subtropical regions It concludes by giving some recommendations that could be applied to Claremont town Centre for an improved pedestrian friendly TOD

Accepted arguments for urban walkability Literature review

Recognised as the oldest form of urban transport walking is a way of encountering and engaging with the local surroundings and wider society in a manner not quite possible when adopting other means of transport especially motor transport Gehl Gemzoe 2003 strongly highlight walking as a solution to bettering the public ground as part of the enhancement of the local neighbourhood and urban rejuvenation

With emerging concerns that car dependent cities will not be sustainable in the future due to energy costs fuel availability congestion pollution and other environmental impacts much awareness is being raised about the importance of walking According to US researches studies show that there is a 30 more likelihood that compactmixed use development residents would walk to a restaurantpark than those inhabiting vast motororiented environments Cervero Radisch1996 Hodgson Page Tight 2004 also conclude from their research that that TODs with appropriate design lead to more pedestrian and transit trips resulting in a decline in nonmotorised transportation modes to reduce pollution emissions

In conjunction to sustainability issues the intragenerational equity theory and policy also acknowledge that a major part of the population constitutes of people who are extremely young old unhealthy disabled or needy to have access or control over a private car OHare2006

Recently considerable interest in improved walking environments has been generated as a result of the desire to encourage nonmotorized transportation modes to reduce pollution emissions and to improve public health by increased levels of walking EvansCowley 2006 A large body of research has confirmed that a favorable walking environment is a neces

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