There is considerable evidence to show that the built environment is strongly correlated with levels of walking for transport. Moreover, its widely understood that walking is the most accessible form of physical activity, which can contribute to improved public health. However, significantly less is known regarding the relative influences of the built environment on walking for leisure. This paper begins with a discussion of physical activity and the health benefits of walking. It subsequently explores how Perth’s draft spatial planning framework (Directions 2031), which reflects increasing policy emphasis on transit oriented development (TOD), is intended to create a hierarchy of centres characterised by a high degree of walkability. The paper examines the utilitarian focus of the framework, discussing whether the intended built environment outcomes facilitate leisure walking and how this might subsequently impact on levels of physical activity among residents and visitors.
Ryan is a Transport and Land Use Planner with Sinclair Knight Merz. He has a Doctorate in sustainability and technology policy and has prepared a number of conference presentations and journal articles. He has formerly worked at Christchurch City Council as a Planner and completed his Masters studying Boy Racers at Canterbury University.