Urban accessibility: the paradox, the paradigms and the measures. A scientific review

Keywords: literature review, bibliometrix, urban accessibility


The literature review presented in this paper represents a part of a wider research focused on the elderly quality of life within urban environments and aimed at designing innovative tools for both public administrations and elderly citizens. The article presents a systematic review of the relevant literature regarding the development of the accessibility concept during the 1959-2020 period. Nearly 6,000 documents were selected from the Scopus database, using the keywords “urban accessibility” and limiting the results to the fields of Urban Studies and Social Sciences to select the documents for the bibliometric analyses run. They were run in R Studio environment through a tool, developed in 2017, named bibliometrix. These analyses were run to highlight the main traits of the urban accessibility concept and developed methodologies and measures, in order to implement it in real-world practices and tools. The extensive and systematic literature review shows that for many years much of this scientific production has a deep theoretical nature, rather than practical. That was mostly due to difficulties in computing and introducing accessibility measures in decision-making practices. The advent of GIS has made much more practical the development of accessibility-oriented planning tools, and many commercial packages are now available. 


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Author Biographies

Carmen Guida, University of Naples Federico II

Engineer, Ph.D. student in Civil Systems Engineering at University of Naples Federico II. She received a master degree in Hydraulic and Transport Systems Engineering at University of Naples Federico II with a thesis on the safety performance of urban intersections, developed at University of Central Florida, Orlando (U.S.). urrently, her PhD research concerns accessibility to urban services for elderly people with the aim of minimizing social exclusion and inequalities within urban areas.

Matteo Caglioni, Department of Geography, Universitè de Nice Sophia Antipolis

Engineer in Environmental Management and Urban Planning, graduated in 2003 from the Engineering Faculty of Polytechnic of Milan (Italy), he achieved the qualification to practice engineering profession in the same year. Awarded with scholarship for Ph.D. program on Sciences and Methods for the European City and Territory, in 2008 he got doctoral degree at Department of Civil Engineer, University of Pisa (Italy). Lecturing at different graduate and post-graduate levels, in 2013 he joined the University Nice Sophia Antipolis (France), as Associate Professor in Geography and researcher at ESPACE laboratory of CNRS. Awarded with UNS prize for research in 2014, currently he is the Head of Department of Geography, Urban Planning and Sustainable Environment. Member of several COST Actions of European Commission in Transport and Urban Development (TUD) and Trans-Disciplinary (TD) domains, he applied for specialized training school in 3D-GeoInformation for Risk Management at Technology University of Delft and at University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). His main teaching and research fields are Urban Modelling and Geosimulation, Artificial Intelligence in Geocomputation, Smart Mobility, Geographical Information Science, Spatial and Data Analysis, Big Data and Volunteered Geographical Information, Ontology and Semantic Enrichment of 3D City Models.


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How to Cite
Guida, C., & Caglioni, M. (2020). Urban accessibility: the paradox, the paradigms and the measures. A scientific review. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 13(2), 149-168. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/6743