VOL: 6  NO: 1  21-40   2009-1


Walking behavior in Istanbul: Individual attributes, neighborhood context and perceived safety



Perver K. BARAN*, William R. SMITH*, Handan D. TRKOLU**, Robert W. MARANS***, Fulin BLEN**

*North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA; ** Istanbul Technical University Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul, TURKEY; *** University of Michigan Institute for Social Research  Ann Arbor, USA  


Received: November 2008    Final Acceptance: May 2009



Walking, for both utilitarian and recreational purposes, is one of the most common physical activities and is an integral part of daily active living. The socio-ecological perspective suggest that built and social environments act together to influence walking behavior. This paper examines how neighborhood and micro-environment safety contexts are associated with utilitarian and recreational walking. Data for this study were obtained from a large quality of life study conducted in metro Istanbul (1635 face-to-face interviews). The results show that utilitarian and recreational walking are influenced by perceived neighborhood safety and signs of territorial functioning (maintenance) in the immediate context. In addition, busy places and an assessment of the area as a good place to walk encourage both types of walking. Several, differences are found, however. The differences between the factors influencing the two types of walking behavior relate to a number of individual attributes and neighborhood social networks, neighborhood density, number of cars in the household, and the overall satisfaction with living in the area. Overall, these findings indicate that the concept of "walking" should not be considered a uni-dimensional construct, but rather there seems to be types of walking behavior, with different "causes" associated with those types.  Implications of the research are drawn for possible policy to encourage types of walking behavior.




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