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Affective experiences of built environments and the promotion of urban walking

Bornioli, Anna; Parkhurst, Graham; Morgan, Phillip L.


Phillip L. Morgan


According to psychological theories of environmental affect, the physical environment moderates the walking experience and its psychological wellbeing benefits. The present paper further demonstrates that affective experiences also influence intentions to walk. A study to explore the influence of affective experiences of walking on walking intentions is reported. A sample of adults working or studying in Bristol, UK (n = 384) participated in an experiment involving virtual exposure to one of five environments, with evaluations of their affective experience and of intentions to walk in the setting. A subsample (n = 14) then took part in photo-elicited semi-structured interviews. Multiple regression analyses showed that affective experiences of walking influenced walking intentions. Interview analyses highlighted the role of traffic, city busyness, and poor aesthetics. This is the first empirical study that examines the walking experience and related walking intentions from the pedestrian perspective employing theories of environmental affect. The findings indicate that safety, comfort, and moderate sensory stimulation are crucial elements for the walking experience. Following this, a strategy to promote active mobility in the built environment can be constructed around safety, comfort, and moderate sensory stimulation by targeting the micro elements that prevent them.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Print ISSN 0965-8564
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 123
Pages 200-215
Series Title 215
APA6 Citation Bornioli, A., Parkhurst, G., & Morgan, P. L. (2019). Affective experiences of built environments and the promotion of urban walking. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 123, 200-215.
Keywords walking, psychological wellbeing, built environment, affective experience, experimental design, walking intentions
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here:


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