Pedestrian access as a measure of urban quality

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The goal of this study, is to demonstrate how access can be given a more prominent role in planning practice. Despite the importance of pedestrian accessibility, the analysis of urban spatial pattern in terms of pedestrian access is hardly a standard protocol of local planning departments in the US. A case in point is the city of Portland, Oregon, used in this paper, which does not evaluate pedestrian access in its regular planning activities. For example, the city's Parks and Recreation Department recently completed an extensive survey and 'vision plan' for its parks (Portland Parks and Recreation, 2001). This impressive document includes detailed analyses of land holdings, recreation facilities, programme offerings, and funding. But the plan does not analyse the degree to which neighbourhood residents are able to walk to neighbourhood parks, other than by an account of the total number of park acres that exist in different subdistricts of the city. I begin by defining measures of urban quality and access, followed by a discussion of the conceptual issues involved. Taking a normative approach, I advocate a measure of accessibility for urban areas that is straightforward and relatively simple to institute in practice. My main goal is to demonstrate that measures of pedestrian access can be used in local planning practice to promote walkable communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-278
Number of pages22
JournalPlanning Practice and Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


Dive into the research topics of 'Pedestrian access as a measure of urban quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this