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URBAN BUILT ENVIRONMENTS, ACCESSIBILITY, AND TRAVEL BEHAVIOR IN A DECLINING URBAN CORE: THE EXTREME CONDITIONS OF DISINVESTMENT AND SUBURBANIZATION IN THE DETROIT REGION

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ABSTRACT

The research explores the impact of socioeconomic and racial variables on accessibility to urban amenities and travel in compact urban built environments that have traditionally been viewed as improving access to daily destinations and promoting nonmotorized travel: urban environments characterized by high densities, mixed land uses, and high connectivity. The study focuses on six neighborhoods in the Detroit region. Two neighborhoods are within the city itself, and predominantly poor and Black, and four of the neighborhoods are in the region surrounding the city, and they are predominantly wealthy and White. This study at the neighborhood scale enables an analysis into how class and race affect accessibility and travel in neighborhoods experiencing urban disinvestment and decline. The research shows that the traditional relationship between high densities, mixed land uses, high connectivity, greater accessibility, and pedestrian activity is significantly weaker in declining inner cities.

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