Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Fall 2020


Community and Regional Planning

First Major Professor

Monica Haddad


Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP)


Community and Regional Planning


Downtowns have the potential to be a main attention point for small communities, the easiest centers to turn into pedestrian-focused mixed-use areas. Additionally, downtowns have the strongest connection to the civic features of neighborhoods, as buildings with civic significance are located in downtown. Buildings with noteworthy meanings are in downtowns and serve as a point for public gathering and hearing. Therefore, maintaining and improving the quality of access to these buildings can spur socio-economic development.

In furtherance of these desires, the main goal of this study is to estimate the Walkability Index, reflecting forms of walking to daily destinations in the downtown of the city of Adel. There is a strong relationship between walkability and the set-up of the built environment where people live. It is thus imperative that the design of urban form supports physical human activities. Hence, the location of shops, health facilities, parks, and open space, residential districts, and other land use, in relation to each other are crucial elements that influence the walkability of a place.

To effectively assess walkability, it is essential to identify the dimensions involved in measuring walkability. Connectivity, proximity, land use mix, and residential density are the necessary variables for estimating the index of waking in an urban setting. Using spatial analysis in Geographic Information System (GIS) is an established method to objectively automate the measurement of these dimensions. To help evaluate the city’s newly adopted future land use plan to guide the development of the downtown from 2020-2040, the index was calculated for both the current and adopted future land uses.

To calculate the overall index, the following steps were met: the network analyst extension of ArcGIS was used to measure proximity, gamma index was calculated for connectivity, net residential density was used to measure density, and the entropy index calculation used to estimate the land use mix. Each one of these dimensions was reclassified with values ranging from 0-100. Additionally, the study uses Google Street View approach to evaluate streetscape features’ capability to provide opportunities for walking in downtown Adel.

The results of the study explicitly indicated that assessment of walkability standards can be performed on both existing built environment and proposed land use plans of a downtown neighborhood. The findings indicate that the proposed future land use will increase the index from 65.6 to 72.9, demonstrating that the recently adopted Downtown Plan will indeed make Adel a more walkable community. Evaluation of the streetscape features revealed the need to improve infrastructure for pedestrians, such as pedestrian signages and urban street elements, to increase pedestrian walking experience. This methodological approach can be applied to other cities that want to measure walkability. This study can be used by urban planners and policymakers to assess whether future plans do create opportunities for pedestrians to increase the level of walking.

Copyright Owner

Kwarteng, Yaw Yeboah

File Format


Embargo Period (admin only)