Exploring pedestrian accessibility and walkability : insight from public place observations in inner-urban higher density Brisbane, Australia

Miller, Evonne & Buys, Laurie (2013) Exploring pedestrian accessibility and walkability : insight from public place observations in inner-urban higher density Brisbane, Australia. In Wulan, Nur, Budiastuti, Arum, Kwary, Deny, Fanany, Rebecca, & Baharuddin, Azizan (Eds.) Urban Mobility : Textual and Spatial Urban Dynamics in Health, Culture, and Society, Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Airlangga , Surabaya, Indonesia, pp. 188-196.

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As planners work to create more sustainable and liveable urban environments, a priority is to transition away from prioritising the automobile and towards enhancing the pedestrian experience. Thus, this research explores the experience of pedestrian accessibility in inner-urban higher-density Brisbane in Australia, drawing on findings from semi-structured in-depth interviews with 24 residents and over 100 hours of public place observations in three case-study neighbourhoods. The interviews took place in residents homes and explored their experience of higher density living and their neighbourhood, whilst observations were recorded through a combination of methods including photographs, sketch maps, recordings and field journals. Observation locations included retail and commercial space, roads, parkland and open space, with multiple observations at each location. A thematic analysis identified common themes in both interviews and the observations, with this paper focusing on residents’ lived experience in urban built environments. This analysis revealed that pedestrian accessibility is linked to access to local amenities and direct routes, aesthetics, sense of community, ownership of space and safety. In particular, observations revealed how pedestrian accessibility and route-taking works with, against or in spite of the design features of urban environments, as well as the importance of the social use of the built environment. Residents spoke about although walking quick and preferred for local amenities, the decision to walk was moderated by factors such as time of day and perceived safety. Measures to ensure and improve the pedestrian accessibility of urban areas needs to take into account the propensity for people to prefer and improvise direct routes (often to the detriment of traffic safety considerations), the importance of ongoing maintenance and upgrading of walking infrastructure and the importance of aesthetically pleasing and safe walking environments. By combining interviews and observations, this research highlights the current dominance of the automobile culture in Brisbane and the layers of meaning, experiences and complexity hidden within the pedestrian experience.

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ID Code: 68239
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: pedestrian, public place, walkability, urban planning
ISBN: 9786021779101
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Urban Design (120508)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Copyright Owner: @2013 Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Airlangga
Deposited On: 11 Mar 2014 01:37
Last Modified: 27 May 2014 03:48

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