Health professionals say the lack of walking is a major factor in poor long term health. But do planners consider the breadth and diversity of the population? Perhaps we need a broader definition of walkability in neighbourhood design.
Lisa Stafford and Claudia Baldwin discuss the issues in their paper. They say few articles on walkable neighbourhoods include people with diverse abilities across the age spectrum. We need to design equitable space – places where everyone is welcome. They recommend that studies on walkable neighbourhoods encapsulate diverse abilities and ages.
The title of the article is, Planning Walkable Neighborhoods: Are we overlooking diversity in ability and ages? It is available through Sage Journals via your institution. Or you can access for a free read through QUT e-prints.
Walkable, rollable, seatable, toiletable
We need a broader term than walkable to explain how everyone can be actively mobile in the community, says Lloyd Alter. In his blog article he adds that unless you are “young and fit and have perfect vision and aren’t pushing a stroller… many streets aren’t walkable at all…” Alter takes his point from a new book where other terms are coined:
- Rollability. Walkability isn’t enough anymore
- Strollerability, for people with kids
- Walkerability, for older people pushing walkers
- Seeability, for people with vision impairment
- Seatability – places to sit down and rest
- Toiletability – comfortable places to go to the bathroom
“All of these contribute to making a city useable for everyone. So we need a broader term for this” says Alter. His suggestions are activemobility, or activeability to cover all the ways different people get around in cities. He says he is open to suggestions for a better word.