Urban Morphology and Young People’s Walking Behaviour: An Empirical Study in Izmir, Turkey

Karlı B., Çubukçu E.

2nd Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), Just Environments: Transdisciplinary Border Crossing, 19 - 23 May 2021

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The level of physical activity has decreased in recent years both in the world and in our country; Turkey. As "walking" is considered as the most accessible type of physical activity, various studies investigate the relation between walking behaviour and environmental design qualities. Majority of these studies measure these environmental design qualities subjectively. Although, urban morphology can be used to substitute the subjective evaluations of urban design qualities; the issue of “walkability” has rarely been studied from urban morphology perspective. Moreover, majority of such studies are held in developed countries and focus on the adult population. Yet, young people can benefit from walking more if they gain this habit early in their lives and they tend to walk more when the environment encourages them to do so. Given that, this study aims to investigate the morphological characteristics where youngpeople prefer to walk or to use a motorized vehicle in Izmir, Turkey.Walking behaviour data was obtained from a project (TUBITAK116K358; Cubukcu et al., 2019). Based on 184 students’ (95 women, 89 men) 7-day travel diary, accelerometer and GPS data,GIS analyses were run to produce activity maps which show where young people choose to walk or use motorized vehicles. Two sites were selected to represent the areas where participants chose to walk or not.

Next urban morphological characteristics were analyzed in selected areas for the following variables via following analyses: (1) building density and type (spacemate method), (2) natural environment (slope analysis, normalized difference vegetation index), (3) street network (space syntax analysis), (4) landuse differentiation (mixed-use index).

Finally; those urban morphological characteristics were compared in the areas where participants walked and used motorized vehicle. Results show morphological differences in two areas.

This study is supported by DEU Scientific Research Projects, Project No: 2020.KB.FEN.016.