Measuring the quality of urban environments : a need-based micro-simulation approach

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Abstract

The ability of an urban environment to support the daily activities individuals need or wish to conduct in time and space has received attention particularly in constraints-based approaches. These approaches do, however, not consider needs underlying an individual’s activities. In this paper, we develop a new measurement approach that is based on a needs-based theory that we developed in earlier work. In this approach, the quality of an environment is measured based on a representative set of daily activity patterns in a studied population. Activity patterns are spatially represented as route systems in a GIS environment and attributes of stops and routes are measured using standard GIS tools. Using the needs-based model, the extent to which each activity pattern satisfies a set of needs is measured as a function of mode and duration-dependent exposure to these attributes of the environment. The aggregated need-satisfaction across activity patterns is taken as a measure of quality. We illustrate the method in a case study where we use TransCAD for spatial analysis and an existing activity diary dataset from the Eindhoven region and where we focus on green-recreation needs. The case study shows the sensitivity of the measure for spatial scenarios regarding availability and spatial distribution of green area in the city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-109
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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