Effects of access to public open spaces on walking: Is proximity enough?

Mohammad Javad Koohsari, Andrew T. Kaczynski*, Billie Giles-Corti, Justyna Anna Karakiewicz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Public open spaces (POSs) are important destinations and settings for walking in neighborhoods and different aspects of POSs can influence walking. Proximity to POSs is a key urban design issue that should be considered in distributing such resources within neighborhoods and it is worthwhile to examine how POS proximity may influence residents' walking. However, little research has explored how different measures of proximity to POSs might influence POS-related walking.This study examined both metric and topological proximity measures to examine associations with amount of walking to and within POSs. Residents (n=320) of three neighborhoods in Melbourne, Australia completed a questionnaire reporting their level of walking to and within POS and perceptions of their neighborhoods. GIS and space syntax were used to extract four proximity measures: distance to the closest POS, number of POSs, total area of POSs within 1. km, and POS integration.None of the proximity measures were associated with walking (versus not walking) to or within POSs. Distance to the nearest POS and the number of POSs within 1. km was negatively associated with the absolute amount of walking to POSs. Residents who lived in areas in which POSs were located on less integrated streets reported more walking to and within POSs. Future landscape and urban design research should consider not only proximity to POSs, but also how factors such as characteristics of the routes that people traverse to reach POS influence use of, and the likelihood of walking to and within, these important neighborhood destinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Integration
  • Neighborhoods
  • Proximity
  • Public open space
  • Urban design
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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