Modeling walking behavior in cities as based on street network and land-use characteristics: the case of istanbul

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The aim of many recent planning investments is to reduce automobile dependence and induce non-auto commuting by implementing various urban design principles along with the ideals of New Urbanism and smart growth in re-shaping the urban form. To date, studies of the built environment’s impact on individual travel behaviour have generally focused on population densities, land-use mix and the qualities of urban design. The latter has often been treated with reference to the immediate condition of individual streets, ranging from the dimensions and design of sidewalks to the prevailing levels of environmental comfort that may encourage pedestrian movement (Gehl et al., 2006).

However; equal attention must be paid to the structure of street networks and street connectivity to understand and design urban environments, where pedestrian movement is distributed over larger areas, with multiple and overlapping pedestrian paths and varied intensities. In this research the emphasis is on the structure of connectivity. The study on spatial structure of street layout is aimed to address a recurrent critical issue within on-going research on walking behaviour. That is the development of adequate objective methods for assessing the impact of physical environment on walking. So far, most models estimated to probe this relationship have been incompletely specified due to the difficulty of balancing the over-reliance on perceptions of the physical environment with a corresponding objective set of measures (Moudon et al., 2006). This is partly because of the scale of models currently in use. Most research designs dealing with studies of pedestrian movement employ
a range of environmental variables concerned with the local qualities of the environment. However, these factors are actually associated with the character or quality of an entire area –a neighbourhood, a district, or a city. Moreover, it is very difficult to build these factors back into recommendations for designs aimed to create walking-friendly environments. This research builds on the premise that structural aspects of physical environment –in addition to such local, perceptual factors– also need to be considered as offering a significant, even over-riding, influence on walking behaviour.

This study investigates the significance of street network design in affecting the distribution of pedestrian movement by adopting appropriate measures of street connectivity which are sensitive to both the density and spatial structure of street networks. Three 1 mile x 1 mile areas in İstanbul are studied to test the presence, strength, and nature of the relationship between street configuration, land-use patterns and densities of pedestrian movement. The scope of this study is two-fold: first, it intends to identify underlying regularities that link pedestrian flows to new measures of street connectivity, which have the potential to contribute to an understanding of movement at a finer grain and raise new questions. Second, this paper discusses how the rates of pedestrian movement are affected by landuse compositions at the street level. In the longer term this might lead to models which can account not only for the relative spatial distribution of movement within an area according to configuration of street network, but also for the magnitude of movement according to land-use. By better understanding the effect of street connectivity and land-use on pedestrian movement, we can better integrate the knowledge base that informs not only planning but also architectural design. This link becomes even more important if we are to develop more sustainable cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalMETU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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