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Exploring walkability and health in Bristol

By S. Burgess and D. Sinnett


The importance of walking as a form of physical activity has been rising in prominence in recent years. This paper explores the results of a recent project looking at the walkability of Bristol and how this relates to physical activity, walking, health and well-being. Using data from the Bristol City Council annual quality of life survey, spanning a ten year period (2001-2011), the study examined the relationship between perceptions of the neighbourhood (e.g. neighbourhood satisfaction, access to amenities, safety and trust) and health and well-being outcomes (e.g. self-reported walking, physical activity, general health and well-being). These were supplemented with data on urban form (density, connectivity and land use mix) from Geographical Information Systems to explore the relationship between walkability and these outcomes. The relationships were explored over the ten year period to examine how changes in the perception of the neighbourhood over time are related to levels of physical activity, walking, health and well-being. The analyses demonstrate that (a) there is a relationship between residents’ perceptions of the neighbourhood and their overall health and well-being in Bristol; and (b) people report more physical activity in neighbourhoods that have a greater measured walkability and better quality walking environment

Year: 2013
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