From Neighborhoods To Wellbeing And Conservation: Enhancing The Use Of Greenspace Through Walkability
Arid Lands Resource Sciences
AdvisorGimblett, Randy H.
Orr, Barron J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn drylands, it is essential to maximize the coupling of social and ecological systems in order to achieve sustainability, particularly in human dominated landscapes such as cities. The enhanced use of greenspace in cities in drylands provides unique opportunities to maximize the coupling of social and ecological systems. It maintains the functioning of ecological systems while involving civil society in the conservation of biodiversity and improving human wellbeing in urban settings. The provision and access to greenspace in cities is determined by neighborhood design. The access for the human use of greenspace can be enhanced through walkability, or the characteristics of the built environment that influence physical activity. Walkable neighborhoods that provide access to greenspace can be catalysts for activity and health and have the potential to increase the level of conservation support in urban residents. The purpose of this research is to look for wellbeing and conservation synergies between walkable neighborhoods and the enhanced use of greenspace. To accomplish this research, first we assess walkability in the built environment through an interdisciplinary literature review that integrates the findings on walkability from several research domains. We create a conceptual framework that organizes the neighborhood design elements that influence physical activity into nine walkability categories: connectivity, land-use, density, traffic safety, surveillance, parking, experience, greenspace, and community. We call this the Walkability Framework. This analysis allows us to identify gaps and strengths of walkability in the Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification system. After a quantitative and qualitative analysis, we propose an enhanced version for walkability that we call LEED-NDW+ (walkability plus). The next step is to test if the Walkability Framework can be used as a model to measure the interactions between the built environment and physical activity. We accomplish this through the use of a questionnaire (N=486) that captures the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of residents in Tucson, Arizona. Significant correlations between all the walkability categories and physical activity support the use of the framework as a model. We call this the Walkability Model. The final stage of this research uses the Walkability Model to evaluate walkability in four neighborhood design types in Tucson that include traditional development, suburban development, enclosed community, and cluster housing. We then look for wellbeing and conservation synergies between walkable neighborhoods and the enhanced use of greenspace. Results from this study suggest that neighborhoods with a high level of walkability have the potential to enhance the use of greenspace, which in turn provide important wellbeing and conservation synergies that can contribute to healthier communities and increase the support for conservation of biodiversity within and beyond cities. The enhanced use of greenspace maximizes the coupling of social and ecological systems in cities in drylands, which increases resilience in the face of climate change.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Arid Lands Resource Sciences