Amsterdam on foot

Designing a city-specific walkability index through a participatory approach

Walkability, which refers to the extent to which the built environment encourages walking, has been linked to increased physical activity and improved health. While various studies have developed indicators to assess walkability, limited attention has been given to the influence of specific city characteristics on residents’ perceptions of walkability. Therefore, this study proposes the development of a context-specific walkability index for Amsterdam. Through a mixed methods approach, the study explores subjective viewpoints on what defines a walkable street and identifies the most significant walkability factors for this particular urban region. These factors are then incorporated into a weighted walkability index, which provides street-level scores.
The findings emphasize that walkability in Amsterdam is not a uniform concept, as individual walking behaviour is influenced not only by the environment but also by personal factors. The resulting walkability index underscores the importance of factors such as traffic safety, crime safety, pedestrian infrastructure, and proximity to amenities in shaping residents’ decisions to walk on specific streets.
This study highlights the significance of participatory approaches and the inclusion of individuals’ subjective views when evaluating walkability. By considering both objective indicators and subjective viewpoints, cities can develop more meaningful strategies to enhance walkability and create environments that promote active and healthy lifestyles.

Afbeelding credits

Header afbeelding: Banner Walkability

Icon afbeelding: Amsterdam on foot - by Hemera Technologies from Photo Images.png