Comparisons of Built Environment Correlates of Walking in Urban and Suburban Campuses: A Case Study of Tianjin, China

Zhehao Zhang, Haiming Wang, Lei Pang, Thomas Fisher, Shuo Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current Chinese campus planning and design have neglected to promote walking activity (WA). Lacking WA and developing sedentary and physical inactivity habits can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases. Academia has confirmed that WA can be facilitated by planning and designing built environment (BE) interventions. Accordingly, this study aims to explore the effect of campus BE features on walking in different regions’ campuses and present nuanced campus planning and design strategies. We selected the objectively measured BE features of destination accessibility, land use, street connectivity, and spatial configuration. Environmental design qualities and pedestrian facilities were chosen as the micro-level BE features. We applied GIS 10.1 and sDNA to calculate gross BE features and field audit tools to measure street environmental features and pedestrian volume (PV). We built negative binomial regression models and eliminated spatial autocorrelation to investigate and compare the BE correlates of walking in urban and suburban campuses. Similarities and differences were found among the outcomes derived from the two regions. We found that campus Walk Score, land use attributes of facility density and park land ratio, complexity, and other features closely correlate with PV in the two types of campuses. Comparatively, closeness, transparency, and complexity only influence urban campuses’ PV, while block length, entropy, facility land ratio, and sidewalk quality only correlate with PV on suburban campuses. According to these findings, we proposed different and targeted campus renewal and planning strategies for WA and walkability promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1972
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • built environment
  • campus planning
  • pedestrian volume
  • walkability
  • walking activity


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