Walking to occupational activities in Basra city : developing and testing an ecological model to support evidence-based feedback in neighbourhood planning

  • Qaaid Zgher Khlef Al-Saraify

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The widespread pattern of urban sprawl, consistent with many modern urban developments, is considered in contemporary planning literature as anti-pedestrian. Conversely, the ‘traditional neighbourhood’ is widely considered by those in the field as offering a pedestrian-friendly environment. Recent research interests in the potential walkability of traditional neighbourhoods conform to the neo-traditional approach in urban planning, design, and development, and have influenced the emergence of New Urbanism. The transformation of Basra City’s urban form during the 20th Century (from traditional to modern) remains unexplored in terms of its impact on the walking behaviour of residents, and therefore, this research develops and tests an ecological model of walking to occupational activities at a neighbourhood scale within Basra City, and generates evidence-based feedback to guide further master planning in the region. The thesis comparatively applies the ecological model to the neighbourhood scale in order to shift the walking-neighbourhood relationship from a correlational approach to a casual and multilevel approach, examining socio-demographic factors, urban planning and design measures, the perceived environment, and social cognition factors based on the construct of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). Walking behaviour was modelled on three types of influence by the neighbourhood environment on walking outcomes, namely mediation, moderation, and determination (or prediction), in order to address research questions and generate evidence-based feedback. Each model combines and tests several variables to address research questions and statistically evaluate the significance of individual walking outcomes.The mediation model combines the objectively measured walkability index (X: predictor), perceived environment factors, or belief-based measures of walking from the TPB (M: mediators), and a walking outcome (Y: dependent variable) in order to evaluate the extent to which M mediates the direct effect of X on Y. The moderation model combines the objectively measured walkability index (X: predictor), socio-demographic factors (Mo: moderators), and a walking outcome (Y: dependent variable) to establish whether the interaction between X and Mo have a significant effect on Y; in other words, to establish the extent to which Mo moderates the direct effect of X on Y. The determination model tests the extent to which the objective measures of the physical environment can predict the walking outcomes; in this respect, the objective measures of urban design and urban form morphology are tested. The objective measures of the physical environment indicate the high to moderate predictability of walking outcomes. Meanwhile, the subjective measures (socio-demographic factors, perceived environment factors, and belief based measures of walking) indicate a moderate to weak predictability of walking outcomes. Moreover, the results indicate that meeting the recommended ≥150-minutes walking per week is largely determined by spatial factors within the neighbourhood typology constituent of traditional and modern neighbourhood classifications. Subsequently, feedback to the master planning of Basra city is generated, and general guidance on neighbourhood design is proposed.
Date of Award1 Jan 2017
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorDavid Grierson (Supervisor) & Peter Grant (Supervisor)

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