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Shaping the city for walking and cycling : a case study of Lancaster.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date12/2010
JournalBuilt Environment
Journal number4
Volume36
Number of pages14
Pages448-461
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Walking is an almost ubiquitous means of travelling around the urban environment, yet it is rarely prioritised or promoted in urban planning. Cycling is undertaken by a small minority of the population but, in some urban areas at least, there has been substantial investment in infrastructure dedicated to cyclists. This paper uses the town of Lancaster (NW England) as a case study to examine critically the barriers to cycling and walking, the effectiveness of measures to promote cycling (Lancaster is a Cycle Demonstration Town) and the opportunities to improve the environment for both walking and cycling. It is argued that while investment in physical infrastructure is of value, the barriers to both cycling and walking go far beyond the physical environment and are deeply embedded in societal structures and the everyday practices of individuals and households. We argue for a more integrated approach to planning for sustainable travel in urban areas which recognises the limitations of focusing solely (or mainly) on the built environment. Evidence to support this thesis is drawn from a recent (ESRC/DfT funded) PhD thesis on facilitating walking in an urban environment and from on-going research on walking and cycling in Lancaster carried out as part of a larger EPSRC-funded project.