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PROGRESSIVE SYNERGY: Creating egalitarian spaces to enhance neighborhood walkability

I have  developed a design methodology that utilizes human-behavior research strategies to discover the most effective tactics to improve neighborhood health and well-being. For my capstone project, I selected a low-income neighborhood in north-central Phoenix to test her strategies. My design process included conducting visual assessments, an inventory of alternative transportation infrastructure, and site observations to understand how people currently use their public spaces. I also conducted a survey of the households in the neighborhood in search of shared perceptions of the public realm. My research pointed to the need for egalitarian public spaces throughout the neighborhood to serve as magnets of activity, potentially increasing walking and biking frequency, as well as increasing social interaction.


Utilizing the residents’ and other users perception on the qualitative factors of walkability, a series of improvements to the public spaces in right-of-way areas will inturn help develop egalitarian outdoor spaces where social capital can be fostered.

Author Lyda Hanifan referred to social capital as “those tangible assets [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit”.

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