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Reid Ewing, Susan Handy, Ross C. Brownson, Otto Clemente and Emily Winston

Background:

In active living research, measures used to characterize the built environment have been mostly gross qualities such as neighborhood density and park access. This project has developed operational definitions and measurement protocols for subtler urban design qualities believed to be related to walkability.

Methods:

Methods included: 1) recruiting an expert panel; 2) shooting video clips of streetscapes; 3) rating urban design qualities of streetscapes by the expert panel; 4) measuring physical features of streetscapes from the video clips; 5) testing inter-rater reliability of physical measurements and urban design quality ratings; 6) statistically analyzing relationships between physical features and urban design quality ratings, 7) selecting of qualities for operationalization, and 8) developing of operational definitions and measurement protocols for urban design qualities based on statistical relationships.

Results:

Operational definitions and measurement protocols were developed for five of nine urban design qualities: imageability, visual enclosure, human scale, transparency, and complexity.

Conclusions:

A field survey instrument has been developed, tested in the field, and further refined for use in active living research.

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Cheryl Carnoske, Christine Hoehner, Nicholas Ruthmann, Lawrence Frank, Susan Handy, James Hill, Sherry Ryan, James Sallis, Karen Glanz and Ross Brownson

Background:

Although public support for physical activity-friendly Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs) appears to be growing, information is lacking on private sector perspectives and how economic factors (eg, fuel prices) might influence the development and sale of TNDs.

Methods:

A sample of realtors from the National Association of Realtors (n = 4950) and developers from the National Association of Home Builders (n = 162) were surveyed in early 2009 to assess factors influencing homebuyers' decisions; incentives and barriers to developing TNDs; effects of depressed housing market conditions and financing on sales; trends in buying; and energy considerations (eg, green building).

Results:

Realtors believed that homebuyers continue to rank affordability, safety and school quality higher than TND amenities. Developers reported numerous barriers to TNDs, including the inability to overcome governmental/political hurdles, lack of cooperation between government agencies, and lack of market demand. Yet, realtors believed clients are increasingly influenced by gas and oil prices, and developers reported that clients are looking for energy efficient homes, reduced commute time, and walkable neighborhoods. Respondents reported consumers are more interested in living in a TND than 5 years ago.

Conclusions:

Activity-friendly TNDs appear to be increasing in demand, but developers and realtors reported significant barriers to creating these communities.

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Ross C. Brownson, Cheryl M. Kelly, Amy A. Eyler, Cheryl Carnoske, Lisa Grost, Susan L. Handy, Jay E. Maddock, Delores Pluto, Brian A. Ritacco, James F. Sallis and Thomas L. Schmid

Background:

Environmental and policy approaches are promising strategies to raise population-wide rates of physical activity; yet, little attention has been paid to the development and prioritization of a research agenda on these topics that will have relevance for both researchers and practitioners.

Methods:

Using input from hundreds of researchers and practitioners, a research agenda was developed for promoting physical activity through environmental and policy interventions. Concept mapping was used to develop the agenda.

Results:

Among those who brainstormed ideas, 42% were researchers and 33% were practitioners. The data formed a concept map with 9 distinct clusters. Based on ratings by both researchers and practitioners, the policy research cluster on city planning and design emerged as the most important, with economic evaluation second.

Conclusions:

Our research agenda sets the stage for new inquiries to better understand the environmental and policy influences on physical activity.