Activating the city : exploring the application of best practice active living in Dunedin : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Resource and Environmental Planning, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
The built environment has been pinpointed as a significant influencing factor in determining choice of travel to work. Characteristics of the built environment can either hinder or enhance opportunities for active living. Current low active living mode shares within New Zealand and the health problems associated with a sedentary population has resulted in research into interventions to reverse vehicle dominated transport systems. This research investigates the influence of the built environment on active living through comparing provisions for active living in Dunedin’s statutory and non-statutory planning documents with international best practice cities. Key Informant interviews expand on the findings of this document analysis. A literature review details five characteristics of the built environment that are common across those cities, and describes methods that are used to improve active transport rates, thus encouraging active living.
This research concludes that current provisions within the Dunedin planning framework with respect to active living are positive and encouraging. However several changes could help the city improve its active travel mode share rates to levels seen in international best practice cities. In particular, walking and cycling infrastructure requirements for new developments and filling in missing connections in the walking and cycling network are two possible changes to the Dunedin planning framework to achieve better active living mode share rates. The research concludes by providing recommendations for changes to the Dunedin planning framework with respect to the five built environment characteristics. Dunedin is well poised to become a successful active living city and through recommended changes to the planning framework, the city could develop comparable active living mode share rates to successful international best practice cities.