- Istanbul Technical University
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Methods: Data were drawn from questionnaires conducted in 20 elementary schools located in the Anatolian part of İstanbul, Turkey. Randomly selected 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students (N=1784) completed questionnaires regarding their commuting modes to/from school while their parents (N=1118) completed questionnaires about their socio-economic characteristics and their children`s daily physical activity. Each student’s BMI was calculated by measured height and weight data. Home- and school-environments (800-and 1600-meter buffers around the respondent and school) were evaluated through GIS-based land-use data and segment-based street connectivity measures. Selected street segments within school-environments were also audited with regard to pedestrian environment characteristics.
Results: Findings indicate that children who actively commuted to/from school had lower BMIs than non-active commuters. More importantly, it is shown that increased street network connectivity measured at the segment-level is significantly associated with reduced BMI in school children. In fact, connectivity measures appear to be the strongest correlates of BMI.
Conclusions: This study provides important evidence for planners, urban designers, and policy makers on the significance of built environment, in general, and street network configuration, in particular, within home- and school-environments. One rule of thumb would be to design a well-connected street network with relatively denser connections and reduced direction changes within the neighbourhood – not only within a couple of blocks of homes and schools but also within their larger fabric (800-1600mt buffers).