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New Urbanism: Effects on Walking & Bicycling Physical Activity. UNC Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning. Asad J. Khattak, Ph.D. & Daniel A. Rodríguez Ph.D. Abstract. Motivation. To study the impact of new-urbanist developments on: Physical activity duration

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New Urbanism: Effects on Walking & Bicycling Physical Activity

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New urbanism effects on walking bicycling physical activity

New Urbanism: Effects on

Walking & Bicycling Physical Activity

UNC Chapel Hill

Department of City and Regional Planning

Asad J. Khattak, Ph.D. & Daniel A. Rodríguez Ph.D.

Abstract

Motivation

To study the impact of new-urbanist developments on:

  • Physical activity duration

  • Physical activity location

  • Utilitarian vs. recreational travel

By limiting the opportunities for being physically active in every day life, contemporary urban areas might play a role in encouraging sedentary lifestyles. To explore this issue, recent research has focused on how urban design correlates with physical activity for transportation and recreation. However, few studies have examined the correlates of transportation and recreational physical activity, and even fewer have done so in two different community design contexts. Two neighborhoods in Orange County, NC were selected based on their: 1) similarity in terms of property values, income levels of residents, and age of neighborhood and 2) substantial differences in design, density, diversity of land uses, transit availability and walkability. Perhaps the most salient difference is their design: One neighborhood is a conventional suburban development, while the other is a new-urbanist development. The results show that while there is no statistical difference in physical activity across neighborhood types, the location of physical activity differs. In the new-urbanist neighborhood, there is greater physical activity in the neighborhood but less physical activity in the house. New-urbanist residents are also more likely to engage in physical activity for utilitarian and recreational travel.

Methodology

  • All heads of household received a mail-back survey questionnaire that collected information on self-reported walking and bicycling activity, socio-demographic characteristics, and individual preferences for various community design attributes

Site Location

Conventional Neighborhoods

Chapel Hill

Carrboro

New-Urbanist Neighborhood


New urbanism effects on walking bicycling physical activity

Results

Results (cont.)

Physical activity duration per week from household survey (hours)1

Utilitarian vs recreational physical activity from travel diaries (hours)1

  • No statistical difference between conventional and new-urbanist homes for duration of moderate, vigorous, and total physical activity

Location of physical activity from household survey (hours)1

  • New-urbanist household complete more utilitarian trips and new-urbanist single-family household complete more recreational trips

  • New-urbanist single-family household heads are more physically active for utilitarian and recreational travel (hours)

Impact of neighborhood type on total physical activity1

1 N=397 household heads

  • New-urbanist neighborhoods are not associated with greater physical activity, but …

Impact of neighborhood type on physical activity in the neighborhood1

  • Compared to conventional single-family homes:

  • New-urbanist household heads are less physically active in their homes (p=0.05 for multi-family homes)

  • New-urbanist household heads are more physically active within the neighborhood. (p=0.05)

1 N=397 household heads

  • …. are associated with greater neighborhood-based physical activity

Impacts of physical activity on Body-Mass Index (BMI)

  • New-urbanist household heads substitute home-based and external-based physical activity for neighborhood-based physical activity

1 N=387 household heads

  • Physical activity is associated with lower BMI

Utilitarian vs recreational physical activity from household survey (hours)1

Conclusion

  • New-urbanist neighborhoods do not appear to be associated with greater levels of total physical activity

  • However, heads of household in new-urbanist neighborhoods substitute home-based and external physical activity for neighborhood-based physical activity

  • New-urbanist neighborhood residents complete more utilitarian and recreational physical activity from travel

  • New-urbanist household heads complete more utilitarian trips but the same number of recreational trips

  • New-urbanist single-family household heads are more physically active for utilitarian travel (hours)

  • New-urbanist household heads are more physically active for recreational travel (hours)


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