Presentation at the 2004 Active Living Research Annual Conference
This study will devise valid and reliable measures of urban design features that have been linked to physical activity (ALPES Topic 1). Key features include those tied to: (1) accessibility; (2) pleasurability; (3) perceived traffic safety; and (4) perceived crime safety. The study will emphasize urban design features that may be modified through policy changes and that characterize settings of various types. The quantitative measures will be designed for use by future researchers and will allow straight-forward data collection and analysis.
The study will employ the following structured approach to building and refining an urban design instrument. We will develop an urban design observation instrument that will yield objective measures of a broad range of characteristics hypothesized to influence physical activity in a variety of urban and non-urban settings. The instrument will allow data to be collected immediately on a laptop computer through a user-friendly front end that will save time and reduce error in data collection and analysis. Feedback on items to include in the urban design instrument will be provided by four focus groups of diverse participants and by a panel of experts on physical activity and design. These reviewers will ensure that key features of urban design potentially linked to physical activity for diverse populations are not overlooked. We will then use the instrument to characterize urban design features in 51 settings of different types (urban, suburban, small town, and rural settings with a range of predominant uses, including residential and nonresidential). We will revise the instrument to fit these settings and to allow data to be easily coded for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Finally, we will test the reliability of the instrument in 27 of these settings and refine the instrument accordingly.