African Cities are Walking Cities, but are they Walkable?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in Africa, Developing countries, streets, sustainable transport, United Nations, urban design, urban walkability, Urbanisation, walking

If you’ve ever been in an East African city during rush hour, then you’ll know that African cities are walking cities.  In the rapidly urbanising capitals of Africa, walking is by far and away the most popular form of transport.  For instance over 60% of trips in Addis Ababa are made on foot, while just 9% of trips are made in a car and in Nairobi over 45% of people walk.  These are the kind of walking statistics that developed cities can only dream of: London struggles to get 20% of people to walk and in New York its between 10-20%.

Which types of people choose a walkable lifestyle?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in behaviour change, demographics, London, mapping, Physical Activity, policies, TfL, urban walkability, walkability, walking

There’s been plenty of research into how walkable streets and neighbourhoods get more people walking. However what we’re less sure about is: Who are the people that choose to walk more?

In an attempt to answer this question, Transport for London have released new research with some interesting findings.  By combining a large travel survey with Londoners demographic data, the study attempted to identify which types of people walk more as part of their everyday lifestyle.

Rating walkability by combining Open Data and Crowdsourcing

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in apps, Crowdsourcing, London, mapping, New York, Open Data, streets, urban walkability, walkability, web tools

It’s generally agreed that walkable streets, neighbourhoods and cities are a good thing.  Walkable areas produce a whole range of benefits that include:

  • less obesity and healthier residents;

  • boosting property values and the economy;

  • fewer traffic accidents;

  • reduced CO2 emissions;

  • and maybe even more people walking!

But perhaps a harder question is: How do we know if a street or area is walkable?

Is it just about how many different destinations are within walking distance of any particular spot?  While that’s a really important factor, its obviously not the only one.

What is Walkonomics?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in apps, mapping, mashup, streets, urban walkability, walkability, web tools

Walkonomics / plural noun / 1. rating the walkability of streets, neighbourhoods and cities by combining the views of large groups of people, local communities and public data. 2. art of creating streets and urban areas that are pedestrian friendly.


Can’t be bothered to walk? There’s an app for that!

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in apps, behaviour change, London, Physical Activity, Public Health, rewards, walkability, walking to school, web tools

Walking is the simplest, cheapest and easiest way of getting around. In many big congested cities, its also the quickest way to move. However the simplicity of walking can sometimes make it difficult to ‘sell’ as a concept to government, business and the general public.

You see the problem is, that walking doesn’t really require any extra technology or equipment. ‘But where’s the problem in that?’ I hear you say. For many of us, that’s exactly why we like walking and the idea of walkable cities. However in our gadget-obsessed world, this lack of ‘hardware’ is often a problem. Perhaps the most worrying part of this is that politicians seem to be the most technology-obsessed of everyone, yet they hold most of the funding for walkability.

Shopping feet

How walkable streets boost the economy

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in Economic impacts, house prices, London, retail, shopping, streets, TfL, urban design, urban walkability, walkability

If you think about your favourite streets, the ones where you like to hang out and meet up with friends: the chances are that these types of street are walkable.  Well it turns out that walkable streets are not only fun and exciting places to be, they are also incredibly profitable.

Research commissioned by the TfL Urban Design team has found that making a street more walkable can add up to £30,000 to the average property price in that street.  In one case study, they found that over £9.5million had been added to local property prices by improving a street with:

  • widened pavements;

  • extra trees;

  • improved lighting;

  • new wayfindings signs.


Getting our Obes-Cities walking again

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in behaviour change, Economic impacts, London, New York, Obesity, Physical Activity, Public Health, urban walkability

A healthy city is a walking city. Western cities in Britain and the US are haemorrhaging cash because of a lack of physical activity. Our automated lives have led to an obesity crisis which is costing us billions of pounds a year in health care costs. For instance the estimated cost of physical inactivity and obesity in England is over £10 billion a year (that’s 10% of the entire NHS budget!).

Urban Umbrella 2

Making the sidewalk into a catwalk: Urban Umbrella’s to replace scaffolding in New York

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in footways, pedestrians, sidewalks, streets, urban design, walkability

Walking can and should be cool. If you don’t agree, then argue with the Cool Kids, who once said “If I catwalk this sidewalk, I can fly this”.  If that lyric means anything, and I’m not sure if it does, it means that walking is the coolest form of transport.  But part of making walking more fashionable, is about creating street environments where we feel cool.

Legible London 2

Legible London is a seriously funky wayfinding system, but does it get more people walking?

Written by Adam Davies on . Posted in behaviour change, Legible London, London, mapping, pedestrians, signage, TfL, urban walkability, wayfinding

If you’ve walked through Covent Garden, Southbank or Oxford Street recently, the chances are you will have stumbled across the funky new Legible London pedestrian signs installed by TfL.  These sleek, stylish ‘monoliths’ have been sprouting up all over the capital during the last year.

Take a tour

Take a tour of a walkable street