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Typically suburban neighborhoods within the United States are often not pedestrian friendly especially when it comes to destination walking. Since the 1980s New Urbanists have been working on developing neighborhoods that not only allow people to walk for leisure but also allow the residents to walk to nearby shopping and public spaces. These increases in opportunities for walking can enhance people’s lives through improved health, reduction in financial outputs for fuels, enhancement of the physical environment through reductions in carbon monoxide, and the potential for increased social capital through accidental and intentional social opportunities. This paper discusses neighborhood design as it relates to walkability and social interaction.
The topics covered are the study purpose and research methods, literature review of New Urbanism and the concept of walkability, physical determinism theory and correlation as they relate to walkability studies, and the results of the research study. The section on New Urbanism and walkability gives a brief description of the history of sustainable neighborhood development that incorporate such ideas as presented through Clarence Perry’s Neighborhood Unit design through the current movement of New Urbanism. The physical determinism section covers theories related to neighborhood design, specifically the continuum of theories that deal with the environment having no effect on human behavior to the possiblistic and probabilistic approaches to physical determinism. The final sections focus on the results of the residential survey and the physical audit of the two neighborhoods included in the case study.
Advisor: Yunwoo Nam