Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: May 04, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412973816 | Print ISBN: 9781412996822 | Online ISBN: 9781412973816 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Walkability (Pedestrian-Friendly Streets)
A. Vernon Woodworth
Walkability is a term applied to the built environment to describe a confluence of factors that facilitate human-centered activities such as strolling, shopping, commuting, and socializing. Walkability has an objective, measurable aspect; however, it manifests as a subjective experience with a strong aesthetic component. The essence of walkability speaks to basic human values such as scale, community, and safety and is found in both indigenous villages and the finest examples of intentional urban design. Walkability celebrates the pedestrian. The texture of the pavement, the shop windows, eye contact, and the open air are all among the experiences that cannot be enjoyed from a speeding automobile. There is a psychological value to this engagement with our surroundings—an intimacy that stimulates all of the senses—but it is the health effects of walking over riding, the aerobic oxygenation and muscular stimulation, that are most significant for our overall well-being. Despite an increased emphasis ...