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The influence of urban design on neighbourhood walking following residential relocation: Longitudinal results from the RESIDE study


  • Giles-Corti, Billie
  • Bull, Fiona
  • Knuiman, Matthew
  • McCormack, Gavin
  • Van Niel, Kimberly
  • Timperio, Anna
  • Christian, Hayley
  • Foster, Sarah
  • Divitini, Mark
  • Middleton, Nick
  • Boruff, Bryan


The design of urban environments has the potential to enhance the health and well-being of residents by impacting social determinants of health including access to public transport, green space and local amenities. Commencing in 2003, RESIDE is a longitudinal natural experiment examining the impact of urban planning on active living in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. Participants building homes in new housing developments were surveyed before relocation (n = 1813; 34·6% recruitment rate); and approximately 12 months later (n = 1437). Changes in perceived and objective neighbourhood characteristics associated with walking following relocation were examined, adjusted for changes in demographic, intrapersonal, interpersonal and baseline reasons for residential location choice. Self-reported walking was measured using the Neighbourhood Physical Activity Questionnaire. Following relocation, transport-related walking declined overall (p < 0.001) and recreational walking increased (p < 0.001): access to transport- and recreational destinations changed in similar directions. However, in those with increased access to destinations, transport-related walking increased by 5.8 min/week for each type of transport-related destination that increased (p = 0.045); and recreational walking by 17.6 min/week for each type of recreational destination that increased (p = 0.070). The association between the built environment and recreational walking was partially mediated by changes in perceived neighbourhood attractiveness: when changes in ‘enjoyment’ and ‘attitude’ towards local walking were removed from the multivariate model, recreational walking returned to 20.1 min/week (p = 0.040) for each type of recreational destination that increased. This study provides longitudinal evidence that both transport and recreational-walking behaviours respond to changes in the availability and diversity of local transport- and recreational destinations, and demonstrates the potential of local infrastructure to support health-enhancing behaviours. As neighbourhoods evolve, longer-term follow-up is required to fully capture changes that occur, and the impact on residents. The potential for using policies, incentives and infrastructure levies to enable the early introduction of recreational and transport-related facilities into new housing developments warrants further investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Giles-Corti, Billie & Bull, Fiona & Knuiman, Matthew & McCormack, Gavin & Van Niel, Kimberly & Timperio, Anna & Christian, Hayley & Foster, Sarah & Divitini, Mark & Middleton, Nick & Boruff, Bryan, 2013. "The influence of urban design on neighbourhood walking following residential relocation: Longitudinal results from the RESIDE study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 20-30.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:77:y:2013:i:c:p:20-30
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frank, Lawrence Douglas & Saelens, Brian E. & Powell, Ken E. & Chapman, James E., 2007. "Stepping towards causation: Do built environments or neighborhood and travel preferences explain physical activity, driving, and obesity?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(9), pages 1898-1914, November.
    2. Giles-Corti, Billie & Donovan, Robert J., 2002. "The relative influence of individual, social and physical environment determinants of physical activity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(12), pages 1793-1812, June.
    3. Handy, Susan & Cao, Xinyu & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2005. "Correlation or causality between the built environment and travel behavior? Evidence from Northern California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5b76c5kg, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2003:93:9:1583-1589_2 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Duncan, Greg J. & Katz, Lawrence F. & Kessler, Ronald & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Gennetian, Lisa & Adam, Emma & Ludwig, Jens & Sanbonmatsu, Lisa & Tessler, Stacy & McDade, Thomas W. & Whitaker, Robert C., 2011. "Neighborhoods, Obesity and Diabetes –-- A Randomized Social Experiment," Scholarly Articles 8642951, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    1. repec:eee:trapol:v:63:y:2018:i:c:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Foster, Sarah & Wood, Lisa & Christian, Hayley & Knuiman, Matthew & Giles-Corti, Billie, 2013. "Planning safer suburbs: Do changes in the built environment influence residents' perceptions of crime risk?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 87-94.
    3. Dulin-Keita, Akilah & Clay, Olivio & Whittaker, Shannon & Hannon, Lonnie & Adams, Ingrid K. & Rogers, Michelle & Gans, Kim, 2015. "The influence of HOPE VI neighborhood revitalization on neighborhood-based physical activity: A mixed-methods approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 90-99.
    4. Kamruzzaman, Md. & Shatu, Farjana Mostafiz & Hine, Julian & Turrell, Gavin, 2015. "Commuting mode choice in transit oriented development: Disentangling the effects of competitive neighbourhoods, travel attitudes, and self-selection," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 187-196.
    5. Hogan, Michael J. & Leyden, Kevin M. & Conway, Ronan & Goldberg, Abraham & Walsh, Deirdre & McKenna-Plumley, Phoebe E., 2016. "Happiness and health across the lifespan in five major cities: The impact of place and government performance," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 168-176.
    6. Michael, Yvonne L. & Nagel, Corey L. & Gold, Rachel & Hillier, Teresa A., 2014. "Does change in the neighborhood environment prevent obesity in older women?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 129-137.
    7. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:142-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Goodman, Anna & Panter, Jenna & Sharp, Stephen J. & Ogilvie, David, 2013. "Effectiveness and equity impacts of town-wide cycling initiatives in England: A longitudinal, controlled natural experimental study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 228-237.
    9. Md. Kamruzzaman & Simon Washington & Douglas Baker & Wendy Brown & Billie Giles-Corti & Gavin Turrell, 2016. "Built environment impacts on walking for transport in Brisbane, Australia," Transportation, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 53-77, January.


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