Heading in the right direction? Investigating walkability in Galway city, Ireland
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Hynes, Mike, & Seoighthe, Eibhlín. (2018). Heading in the Right Direction? Investigating Walkability in Galway City, Ireland. Urban Science, 2(2), 31. doi: 10.3390/urbansci2020031
As cities and towns worldwide strive to improve quality of life for citizens, debates centred on mobility are at the forefront of transportation policy thinking and urban design and planning. The automobile radically transformed cities, not always for the better, and the transport paradigm espoused over previous decades has primarily focussed on cars. This is still largely evident, driven by policymakers and key decisionmakers using forecasting and transportation and economic models that justify such car-centric planning. However, it is now clear that this approach of increasing automobility is unsustainable. Urban planners across the world are coming to a similar conclusion; they are better off with fewer cars, and a new vision is required, which sees people embracing active and sustainable transportation and sharing public space, information, and new innovative services to make cities more attractive and liveable. Walkability is the measure of how pleasant an area is for walking. By promoting and encouraging people to walk more, we achieve the benefits of better personal health and safer, more convivial neighbourhoods and communities. Making cities more walkable involves incorporating features into urban landscapes that make walking an agreeable experience and bringing a range of necessary and interesting destinations within walking distances of homes and workplaces. Using data from the Mobilities and Liveability in Galway project, this paper seeks a richer understanding of issues relating to existing topographies of walkability and the barriers and pressures that exist with regards to the further development of walking in the city a healthy and pleasurable way of getting about.