Walkability Around Neighborhood Parks: An Assessment Of Four Parks In Springfield, Oregon
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Walkability is an emerging and hot topic in the study of urban form. Many planning scholars and practitioners alike have already examined the many components of the land use-transportation connection and built environment-physical activity link. A rapidly growing area of urban form research concerns how to measure the level of walkability of neighborhoods. Walkability, also referred to as pedestrian accessibility, has and is being measured from a variety of angles. Some of these have used GIS and some others have not. However, very few to none have examined walkability on a street-by-street basis. This study performed a fine-grained walkability assessment at the street level by collecting data in a cutting edge, high-tech manner using a mobile GIS. Four neighborhood parks in Springfield, Oregon were studied. There were twenty ‘key’ indicators of walkability that were aggregated to the census block level in order to derive an average walkability score. Delineating pedestrian catchment areas around each park using the average walkability score, U.S. Census Bureau TIGER data, and Lane Council of Governments local government street classifications allowed an analysis of the walkable area and quality of the pedestrian amenities. In the end, some indicators were found to be better indicators of walkability, sidewalks being the more prevalent, and that some GIS data can be a substitute for more refined methods of collecting data.