Award Date

5-1-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Committee Member

Michelle Chino

Second Committee Member

Shawn Gerstenberger

Third Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Fourth Committee Member

Shannon Monnat

Fifth Committee Member

Alex Paz

Number of Pages

97

Abstract

Introduction: The benefits to regular physical activity are well established. Walkability is one element of the built environment that has been correlated with increased levels of physical activity. The auto-centric design of Las Vegas Metropolitan area (LVMA) is unique in ways that may influence walkability. The purpose of this study was to determine which urban design characteristics are associated with walking and physical activity in moderate income neighborhoods in LVMA. Methods: The standard walkability measure developed by Frank et al. (2010) was used to calculate the walkability index of seven neighborhoods. Residents of the two most walkable and two least walkable neighborhoods were then surveyed on their walking and physical activity levels and perceptions of neighborhood design characteristics as barriers to walking. Logistic regression was used to determine what factors predicted meeting the recommended amount of physical activity. Results: A total of 147 survey responses were collected. A large percentage of residents agree that lack of shade, poor land use mix, and poor street connectivity is a barrier to walking for active transport and leisure. There were significant differences between neighborhoods in percentage of respondents agreeing that long distances between crosswalks and high speed streets were a barrier to walking for active transport and leisure. Logistic regression revealed that perceptions of the urban design characteristics in neither the standard walkability index, nor the index which included design characteristics unique to LVMA significantly predicted meeting the physical activity recommendations. Discussion: Results suggest that the auto-centric design of LVMA may be so unique that those factors which have been associated with walking in previous studies are not associated with walking in LVMA. Further analysis of both physical and social factors relating to walkability is necessary to determine what actions are needed to increase walking and physical activity in LVMA.

Keywords

Active transport; Built environment; City planning; Exercise; Nevada – Las Vegas; New urbanism; Pedestrian areas; Physical activity; Urban design; Utilitarian; Walking

Disciplines

Public Health | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning

Language

English


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