Walkability in Small Rural Towns: Assessing the Built Environment

This presentation is part of the “From the Ground Up: How the Built Environment Influences Community Health” session.

Lifestyle related chronic diseases affect almost half of U.S. adults, especially in rural areas. Research associating environmental aspects with increased PA in urban areas is lacking for small towns. A research framework is being developed to better understand environmental determinants of active travel in small towns including a new assessment tool based on a literature review, walkability audits, GIS spatial analysis and photomapping. Data on walking and perception of walkability will be collected in two small towns through questionnaires, resident discussion workshops, and interviews. Follow-up testing of the instrument includes a health promotion plan for each town.

Presenter: Kristin Thorleifsdottir, Ph.D. MLA, assistant professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison