Researchers from McGill and the University of California, Santa Cruz have identified a cause of increasing urban sprawl. Barrington-Leigh and Millard-Ball report that “the local streets of the world’s cities are becoming less connected, a global trend that is driving urban sprawl and discouraging the use of public transportation. . . . in large parts of the world, recent urban growth has increasingly resulted in inflexible and disconnected street networks. . . . Gridded street networks . . . promote efficient, dense urban form in Bolivia, Argentina and Peru.
More benefits from designing for walking
Park and Evans assessed the current relevance of Lynch’s work. They share that “Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City (1960) identified five physical elements—path, edge, district, node, and landmark—that are the building blocks of place. Both the physical and sociocultural function of these elements, along with their locations, affects how we comprehend (legibility) and generate meaning of place (imageability). . . . dependence on LBS [location-based services, online applications that reflect users’ geographic locations and include navigation apps . . local weather functions. . .
Keijzer and colleagues set out to confirm the health benefits of living near greenspaces. They determined that “More residential surrounding greenspace was associated with lower risk of metabolic syndrome. . . . Metabolic syndrome is an important risk factor for non-communicable diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke. . . . The present longitudinal study was based on data from four clinical examinations between 1997 and 2013 in 6076 participants of the Whitehall II study, UK (aged 45–69 years at baseline).
Glasgow and teammates evaluated mood during travel by contacting people periodically during their journeys via their phones. The researchers found that “Mood differed as a function of exposure to various built and natural environments. . . . Positive mood was higher for pedestrians and for bicyclists [than for people engaged in motorized travel]. . . . Interpersonal conversation during trips was associated with more positive mood. . . . Errand trips were associated with more negative mood compared to other trips. . .
Crucial resource for designing in walkability
Zuniga-Teran lead a team which determined that parks are used more when the routes potential users would take to them are more walkable. The investigators found that “Walkable neighborhoods may predict a higher frequency of greenspace use. Walking as a mode to reach greenspace may predict higher frequency of greenspace visitation. Driving as a mode to reach greenspace may predict lower frequency of use of greenspace. Proximity to greenspace may not predict the frequency of greenspace visitation for residents. . .
Benita, Bansal, and Tuncer set out to learn more about the emotions people feel in public spaces. They specifically probed momentary subjective wellbeing (M-SWB). During the data collection process, students (age 7 to 18) “wore a sensor for one week, and happy moments were captured as well as geospatial and environmental data throughout the country. This is a large-scale in-the-wild user study. The findings provide weak empirical evidence that visiting parks and community centers increase the probability of experiencing M-SWB compared with commercial areas. . . .
How are crime and the amount of walking done in that area related?
Bellet studied the implications of building large new homes in neighborhoods.