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Aiming for Walkable, Inclusive Communities

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Arlie Adkins, University of Arizona

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Aiming for Walkable, Inclusive Communities

  1. 1. AIMING FOR WALKABLE, INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES Arlie Adkins, PhD University of Arizona
  2. 2. Thank you.
  3. 3. Thank you. Maia Ingram, Univ. of Arizona Nicole Iroz-Elardo, Univ. of Arizona Amazing current and former grad students
  4. 4. Why we need inclusive, walkable communities 1. Health benefits 2. Safety disparities for pedestrians 3. Environmental benefits 4. Social benefits 5. Economic 6. Inclusive communities need walkability
  5. 5. Social-Ecological Models Policy Community Environment/Setting Interpersonal Intrapersonal Only by operating at multiple levels can we effectively influence behavior. Transportation pros may not have influence at each level. But factoring each into our work is critical.
  6. 6. Improving Walking Environments for those Already Walking Getting More People Walking Two goals of planning for more walkable communities Comfort Safety Dignity Efficiency Security Connections Health
  7. 7. Use choice rather than change framework “Strive to expand choice and opportunity for all persons, recognizing a special responsibility to plan for the needs of disadvantaged groups and persons.” - American Institute of Certified Planners Code of Ethics
  8. 8. Value the experiences and expertise of the real experts… those out walking in your communities.
  9. 9. Systematic Lit Review Focus Groups On-Street Interviews Decision Maker Interviews Tool Refinement Broader Deployment Los Angeles Orange County Denver St. Louis Baltimore Phoenix Portland Tucson NITC has funded an expansion of pilot work we’ve been developing in Tucson, Arizona over the last several years with funding from the CDC’s Physical Activity Policy Research Network The current project
  10. 10. Contextualizing Walkability Systematic review of public health and planning literature on walkability in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas: 1. Standard measures of walkability largely defined and validated from white, middle-class contexts
  11. 11. Contextualizing Walkability Systematic review of public health and planning literature on walkability in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas: 1. Standard measures of walkability largely defined and validated from white, middle-class contexts 2. Built environment walkability attributes are consistently more strongly correlated with walking and physical activity for relatively socio-economically advantaged groups
  12. 12. Contextualizing Walkability Systematic review of public health and planning literature on walkability in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas: 1. Standard measures of walkability largely defined and validated from white, middle-class contexts 2. Built environment walkability attributes are consistently more strongly correlated with walking and physical activity for relatively socio-economically advantaged groups 3. Two explanations for this from data: - More walking in unsupportive built environments - Less walking in objectively supportive built environments
  13. 13. Walking Focus Groups
  14. 14. Tucson Focus Groups • Five focus groups in predominantly Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods in Tucson • Focus group started around table at a community center or public space, then moved to walk through neighborhood • Used elements of the neighborhood environment as conversation prompts • About 40 people total participated.
  15. 15. Things we heard 1. Specific concerns about dangerous street crossings, especially for children 2. Security: women, children, safety, lighting, fear of crime 3. Role of social cohesion, neighborhood identity, sense of history 4. Climate amplifies other challenges 5. Wide spectrum of barriers/challenges identified, but far narrower view of the role of the city
  16. 16. Homeless people Missing sidewalks Sidewalk maintenance Traffic Dangerous crossings No destinations Low social cohesion Prostitution Outsiders/strangers Drug dealing Noise Pollution Heat Lack of shade Dogs Coyotes No streetlights Needed school crossing Dog poop Automotive businesses Speeding Cars parked on sidewalks No eyes on the street Skateboarders Barriers? Security for kids Individual health Weeds Litter Graffiti Seedy hotels Abandoned buildings Non-local destinations Bicycles Drug houses Drunks
  17. 17. Homeless people Missing sidewalks Sidewalk maintenance Traffic Dangerous crossings No destinations Low social cohesion Prostitution Outsiders/strangers Drug dealing Noise Pollution Heat Lack of shade Dogs Coyotes No streetlights Needed school crossing Dog poop Automotive businesses Speeding Cars parked on sidewalks No eyes on the street Skateboarders Barriers? Security for kids Individual health Weeds Litter Graffiti Seedy hotels Abandoned buildings Non-local destinations Bicycles Drug houses Drunks City role?
  18. 18. Homeless people Missing sidewalks Sidewalk maintenance Traffic Dangerous crossings No destinations Low social cohesion Prostitution Outsiders/strangers Drug dealing Noise Pollution Heat Lack of shade Dogs Coyotes No streetlights Needed school crossing Dog poop Automotive businesses Speeding Cars parked on sidewalks No eyes on the street Skateboarders Barriers? Security for kids Individual health Weeds Litter Graffiti Seedy hotels Abandoned buildings Non-local destinations Bicycles Drug houses Drunks City role? INFRASTRUCTURE
  19. 19. Homeless people Missing sidewalks Sidewalk maintenance Traffic Dangerous crossings No destinations Low social cohesion Prostitution Outsiders/strangers Drug dealing Noise Pollution Heat Lack of shade Dogs Coyotes No streetlights Needed school crossing Dog poop Automotive businesses Speeding Cars parked on sidewalks No eyes on the street Skateoarders Barriers? Security for kids Individual health Weeds Litter Graffiti Seedy hotels Abandoned buildings Non-local destinations Bicycles Drug houses Drunks City role? INFRASTRUCTURE
  20. 20. Things we heard 1. Specific concern about dangerous street crossings, especially for children 2. Security: women, children, safety, lighting, fear of crime 3. Role of social cohesion, neighborhood identity, sense of history 4. Climate amplifies other challenges 5. Wide spectrum of barriers/challenges identified, but far narrower view of the role of the city
  21. 21. “Talk to us. Engage us and talk to us. Like you did to me when you approached me.”
  22. 22. On-Street Interviews – Tucson Method: • 7 neighborhoods selected with similar built environments (sidewalk coverage, connectivity), Walk Scores™, poverty rates, and household income. • 4 were 75% or more Hispanic/Latino • 3 were 75% or more non-Hispanic white
  23. 23. Method On-street interviews • Trained graduate students interviewed 190 people (English and Spanish) • 118 in Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods and 72 in comparison neighborhoods • Open ended questions about what contributes to a place being good/not good for walking • Specific questions designed to avoid leading people toward any particular element of what might contribute to their perceptions of walkability (social environment vs. physical environment) “What are some things you like about this area as a place for walking?”
  24. 24. Findings Who we talked to: • 54% no car access in Hispanic/Latino areas vs. 42% in non-Hispanic white areas • No difference in percentage of people who walk in the area at least a few times per week (~80%) • No difference in reason for walking, w/ about 48% walking for transportation • Similar overall satisfaction and safety ratings
  25. 25. 0% 0% 0% 3% 10% 14% 14% 14% 15% 18% 30% 35% 44% 58% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Social support (+) Dogs (-) Sense of community (+) Lack of shade/trees (-) Social interaction (+) Upkeep/maintenance (-) Destinations (+) Crime/safety (-) Sidewalks (+) Aesthetics (+) Lack of street crossings (-) Lack of lighting (-) Calm and quiet (+) Lack of sidewalks (-) Predominantly Hispanic/Latino Neighborhoods Predominantly Non-Hispanic White Neighborhoods CONTRIBUTORS TO PERCEPTIONS OF WALKABILITY
  26. 26. 0% 0% 0% 3% 10% 14% 14% 14% 15% 18% 30% 35% 44% 58% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Social support (+) Dogs (-) Sense of community (+) Lack of shade/trees (-) Social interaction (+) Upkeep/maintenance (-) Destinations (+) Crime/safety (-) Sidewalks (+) Aesthetics (+) Lack of street crossings (-) Lack of lighting (-) Calm and quiet (+) Lack of sidewalks (-) Predominantly Hispanic/Latino Neighborhoods Predominantly Non-Hispanic White Neighborhoods CONTRIBUTORS TO PERCEPTIONS OF WALKABILITY
  27. 27. 0% 0% 0% 3% 10% 14% 14% 14% 15% 18% 30% 35% 44% 58% 7% 9% 19% 6% 19% 30% 36% 50% 8% 0% 18% 19% 2% 18% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Social support (+) Dogs (-) Sense of community (+) Lack of shade/trees (-) Social interaction (+) Upkeep/maintenance (-) Destinations (+) Crime/safety (-) Sidewalks (+) Aesthetics (+) Lack of street crossings (-) Lack of lighting (-) Calm and quiet (+) Lack of sidewalks (-) Predominantly Hispanic/Latino Neighborhoods Predominantly Non-Hispanic White Neighborhoods CONTRIBUTORS TO PERCEPTIONS OF WALKABILITY
  28. 28. Physical Environment Street crossings Sidewalks Lighting Upkeep & maintenance Destinations Social Environment Crime and security Social interaction Social support Sense of community Calm and quiet Aesthetics Dogs Somewhere In Between
  29. 29. Social:SocialInteraction “In the morning, it's great to be able to communicate while walking… hello, good morning.” “I enjoy the people I run into and the culture of the area. I enjoy meeting my friends and new people on the street to talk to and listen to music. We are Hispanic and we start to talk.”
  30. 30. Social:SocialSupport “People thank me for watching over the neighborhood and the kids. They call me "the watchdog" “It's safe here, the neighbors look after each other.” “I know a lot of people and we watch out for each other” “People are friendly. Everyone knows everyone. My whole family lives in the area."
  31. 31. Social:SenseofCommunity " I enjoy the people in the area and the culture." “The unique culture.” “The history and Mexican culture. People have lived here for centuries.” “People are friendly. Everyone knows everyone. My whole family lives in the area."
  32. 32. Characteristics that existing evidence tells us contribute to walkability may not do so consistently in different socioeconomic contexts: • Building setbacks and enclosure • Destinations • Sidewalks
  33. 33. Recognize our own individual and societal bias in how we talk about and envision walkable communities
  34. 34. “Taste is a form of cultural capital that people acquire often without knowing its origin. People from similar social and regional backgrounds develop common sensibilities and aesthetic appreciations; shared taste is mobilized as the basis of group belonging and equally as the basis of social distinction or exclusion. Some images are widely shared; however, fine distinctions within the discourse are used to establish the status of some and to exclude others.” (Duncan and Duncan, 2005, P. 56) “Various social, economic, political, and legal practices have been devised to create or stabilize the association between landscapes and particular desired social identities.” (Duncan and Duncan, 2005, P. 29)
  35. 35. Even if our jobs are mostly about built environment, we must better understand how those elements interact with socioeconomic and sociocultural context. Build partnerships.
  36. 36. Next Steps • Just finished over 500 interviews in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Denver • Continued testing and refinement in St. Louis, Baltimore, and Phoenix this fall • Creating focus group and on-street interview protocols and trainings • Neighborhood survey to explore differences and similarities with our interviews • Methods paper for TRB • Sharing these tools through QPED.org
  37. 37. Qualitative Pedestrian Environments Data(base) - QPED • Toolkit for jurisdictions, community organizations, and researchers wanting to systematically capture conversations about context-specific walkability • Interview and focus group guides, protocols, and trainings • Potential to be a repository for large amounts of qualitative data that will help us better understand how perceptions of walkability and what contributes to it varies from place to place • Hoping to launch in early 2019 – visit QPED.org now to be notified when we’re up and running

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