Accessibility to Urban Amenities in the St. John’s Census Metropolitan Area, 2006-10
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 12-1 p.m.
Blue Box Seminar. “While sustainability dominates the discourse in urban theory and practice, a growing literature has recognized the importance of liveability in city-making. Livability is the sum of factors that contribute to a city’s quality of life. One significant factor is access to services and goods for pedestrians, an aspect of planning that scholars and planners have long neglected. Accessible amenities fulfil a city’s function and are an essential component of good urban form. This form – relatively compact and with mixed land uses – enables a better integration of amenities and people. Cities around the world and, especially, metropolises in North America, have developed far from this form and have, thus, constrained access for the pedestrian. This is true both for large and for smaller cities, but the literature tends to focus on the former. This study contributes to the small city scholarship by offering a descriptive assessment of access to amenities in a mid-size Canadian city, St. John’s (NL), through an analysis of census and business microdata between 2006 and 2010. It is hypothesised that, given St. John’s urban form (low-density, disconnected streets, low mix use, car-friendly), access to amenities is low across the metropolis. Results show that first, average minimum distances to amenities exceed the established walking standard of 500m across the metropolis; second, there is a mismatch of population to amenity across the St. John’s metropolitan area; third, demographic groups in higher need of amenities enjoy higher access than others; and fourth, accessibility is higher where urban form is more compact. It is concluded that accessibility in St. John’s is spatially unequal, but fairly equitable, and that areas with higher accessibility are concentrated in the old City of St. John’s.”
Presented by Department of Geography