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Am J Prev Med. 2011 Jan;40(1):25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.09.023.

Disaggregate land uses and walking.

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  • 1Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.



Although researchers have explored associations between mixed-use development and physical activity, few have examined the influence of specific land uses.


This study analyzes how the accessibility, intensity, and diversity of nonresidential land uses are related to walking for transportation.


Multinomial logistic regression was used to investigate associations between walking for transportation and neighborhood land uses in a choice-based sample of individuals (n=260) in Montgomery County MD. Land uses examined included banks, bus stops, fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, libraries, rail stations, offices, parks, recreation centers, non-fast-food restaurants, retail, schools, sports facilities, night uses, physical activity uses, and social uses. Exposure to these uses was measured as the street distance from participants' homes to the closest instance of each land use (accessibility); the number of instances of each land use (intensity); and the number of different land uses (diversity). Data were collected from 2004-2006 and analyzed in 2009-2010.


After adjusting for individual-level characteristics, the distances to banks, bus stops, fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, rail stations, physical activity uses, recreational facilities, restaurants, social uses and sports facilities were associated negatively with transportation walking (ORs [95% CI] range from 0.01 [0.001, 0.11] to 0.91 [0.85, 0.97]). The intensities of bus stops, grocery stores, offices, and retail stores in participants' neighborhoods were associated positively with transportation walking (ORs [95% CI] range from 1.05 [1.01, 1.08] to 5.42 [1.73, 17.01]). Land-use diversity also was associated positively with walking for transportation (ORs [95% CI] range from 1.39 [1.20, 1.59] to 1.69 [1.30, 2.20]).


The accessibility and intensity of certain nonresidential land uses, along with land-use diversity, are positively associated with walking for transportation. A careful mix of land uses in a neighborhood can encourage physical activity.

Copyright © 2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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