Walkability and Greenness Do Not Walk Together: Investigating Associations between Greenness and Walkability in a Large Metropolitan City Context.

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BACKGROUND: The existing environment literature separately emphasizes the importance of neighborhood walkability and greenness in enhancing health and wellbeing. Thus, a desirable neighborhood should ideally be green and walkable at the same time. Yet, limited research exists on the prevalence of such "sweet spot" neighborhoods. We sought to investigate this question in the context of a large metropolitan city (i.e., Sydney) in Australia. METHODS: Using suburb level normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI), percentage urban greenspace, Walk Score® (Walk Score, Seattle, WA, USA), and other data, we explored the global and local relationships of neighborhood-level greenness, urban green space (percent park area) with walkability applying both non-spatial and spatial modeling. RESULTS: We found an overall negative relationship between walkability and greenness (measured as NDVI). Most neighborhoods (represented by suburbs) in Sydney are either walkable or green, but not both. Sweet spot neighborhoods that did exist were green but only somewhat walkable. In addition, many neighborhoods were both less green and somewhat walkable. Moreover, we observed a significant positive relationship between percentage park area and walkability. These results indicate walkability and greenness have inverse and, at best, mixed associations in the Sydney metropolitan area. CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis indicates an overall negative relationship between greenness and walkability, with significant local variability. With ongoing efforts towards greening Sydney and improving walkability, more neighborhoods may eventually be transformed into becoming greener and more walkable.

Australia, NDVI, Walk Score®, geographical information systems, green space, greenness, spatial modeling, sweet spots, walkability, Australia, Cities, Environment Design, Residence Characteristics, Walking
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Int J Environ Res Public Health
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