Publication Detail

Which Comes First, the Neighborhood or the Walking?



Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L. and Patricia L. Mokhtarian (2005) Which Comes First, the Neighborhood or the Walking?. Access Magazine 26, 16 - 21

Although there is, in common understanding, a direct relation between driving, suburban areas, and obesity (as opposed to walking, urban areas, and a more healthful body-type), this article describes research recently conducted to find out just how decisive such correlative information might be. Since it was impossible for researchers to properly conduct an experiment with a control group and an experimental group by moving the experiment group between urban and suburban settings, they instead took results from a number of Northern California homes that were already planning on such a move, and deduced results from surveys acquired through them. They found that the role of a paradigmatic built environment such as “suburban” or “urban” is less decisive in subjects’ decisions to walk or drive than issues such as aesthetic appearance of the new neighborhood, alternatives to driving, increased safety, sociability between neighbors, accessibility to commercial services, and income.