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Evaluating walkability: a capability-wise planning and design support system

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We present a methodology and a planning and design support software tool for evaluating walkability and pedestrian accessibility of places which are relevant for people’s capabilities, and thus an important component of quality of life in cities. A multicriteria evaluation model, at the core of the decision support system, is used to assign walkability scores to points in urban space. Walkability scores are obtained through algorithms which process spatial data and run the evaluation model in order to derive potential pedestrian routes along the street network, taking into account the quality of urban space on several attributes relevant for walkability. One of its notable characteristics is a certain reversal of perspective in evaluating walkability: the walkability score of a place does not reflect how that place is per se walkable, but instead how and where to can one walk from there, that is to say, what is the walkability the place is endowed with. This evaluation incorporates three intertwined elements: the number of destinations/opportunities reachable by foot, their walking distances, and the quality of the paths to these destinations. In this article, we furthermore demonstrate possible uses of the support system by reporting and discussing the results of a case-study assessment of a project for the Lisbon’s Segunda Circular (Second Ring Road). The software tool is made freely available for download.
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Keywords: capability approach; decision support systems; pedestrian accessibility; urban quality of life; walkability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Architecture, Planning and Design, University of Sassari, Alghero (SS), Italy

Publication date: August 3, 2015

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