Quantifying the urban built environment: a neighbourhood-scale analysis

Keywords: Built environment, Travel behaviour, Land-use, Entropy, Neighbourhood-scale


The quantification of the built environment has been approached from two major perspectives-regional-scale and neighbourhood-scale. Few studies have attempted to quantify the built environment from the neighbourhood-scale and none of these studies attempted to examine the interactions that exist between the respective built environment indicators and the spatial variation of such interaction which may help under the emerging travel-related prototypical neighbourhoods. Two types of datasets were used in the study and these are neighbourhood-based field surveys and data extracted from a satellite image. These were used to compute indicators which were in turn used to measure the built environment of Benin metropolitan region. The interaction between the indicators revealed that the quantification of the built environment categorised the region into 3 distinct prototypical neighbourhoods-pedestrian-oriented zones, transit-oriented zone, and car-oriented zone.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ndidi Felix Nkeki, Department of Geography and Regional Planning University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State

He is a Doctor of Transport Geography, a PhD he obtained from the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Benin, Nigeria. His PhD research is focused on the built environment and travel behaviour using advanced modelling techniques. His other areas of research interest are transportation and regional development, urban transport and land-use planning, applied GIS and remote sensing, spatial statistics and modelling.

Monday Ohi Asikhia, Department of Geography and Regional Planning University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State

He is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Benin. His research interests are in the areas of urban and regional planning with a special interest in public facilities planning.


Asikhia, M. O., & Nkeki, F. N. (2013). Polycentric employment growth and the commuting behaviour in Benin Metropolitan Region, Nigeria. Journal of Geography and Geology, 5 (2), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.5539/jgg.v5n2p1

Badoe, D. A., & Miller, E. J. (2000). Transportation-land use interaction: Empirical findings in North America, and their implications for modeling. Transportation Research D, 5 (4), 235-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1361-9209%2899%2900036-X

Bhatta, B., Saraswati, S., & Bandyopadhyay, D. (2010). Urban sprawl measurement from remote sensing data. Applied Geography, 30, 731-740. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2010.02.002

Burchell, R. W., Shad, N. A., Listokin, D., Philip, H., Downs, A., Seskin, S., . . . Gall, M. (1998). The Costs of Sprawl-Revisited. TCRP Report 39. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Cervero, R., & Kockelman, K. (1997). Travel demand and the 3Ds: Density, diversity, and design. Transportation Research D, 2 (3), 199-219. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1361-9209(97)00009-6

Cervero, R., & Wu, K. L. (1998). Sub-centring and commuting evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area, 1980-90. Urban Studies, 35 (7), 1059-1076. https://doi.org/10.1080/0042098984484

Cho, G., & Rodriguez, D. (2014). Location or design? Associations between neighbourhood location, built environment and walking. Urban Studies, 52 (8), 1434-1453. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098014537691

Choi, K. (2018). The influence of the built environment on household vehicle travel by the urban typology in Calgary, Canada. Cities, 75, 101-110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2018.01.006

Christian, H. E., Bull, F. C., Middleton, N. J., Knuiman, M. W., Divitini, M. L., Hooper, P., . . . Giles-Corti, B. (2011). How important is the land use mix measure in understanding walking behaviour? Results from the RESIDE study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8 (55), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-55

Comendador, J., López-Lambasb, M. E., & Monzónb, A. (2014). Urban built environment analysis: Evidence from a mobility survey in Madrid. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 160, 362 – 371. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.12.148

Dargay, J., & Hanly, M. (2004). Land use and mobility. World Conference on Transport Research. Istanbul.

Ewing, R., & Cervero, R. (2001). Travel and the built environment: A synthesis. Transportation Research Record 1780, 87-114. https://doi.org/10.3141/1780-10

Ewing, R., & Cervero, R. (2010). Travel and the built environment: A meta-analysis. Journal of the American Planning Association, 76 (3), 265-294. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944361003766766

Ewing, R., Hamidi, S., Grace, J. B., & Wei, Y. D. (2016). Does urban sprawl hold down upward mobility? Landscape and Urban Planning, 148, 80-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.11.012

Ewing, R., Hamidi, S., Tian, G., Proffitt, D., Tonin, S., & Fregolent, L. (2017). Testing Newman and Kenworthy’s theory of density and automobile dependence. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 38 (2), 167-182. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X16688767

Ewing, R., Tian, G., Goates, J. P., Zhang, M., Greenwald, M. J., Joyce, A., Kircher, J., & Greene, W. (2014). Varying influences of the built environment on household travel in 15 diverse regions of the United States. Urban Studies, 52 (13), 2330-2348. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098014560991

Fenu, N. (2021). Bicycle and urban design. A lesson from Covid-19. Tema. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 14 (1), 69-92. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/7716

Frank, L. D., & Pivo, G. (1994). Impacts of mixed use and density on utilization of three modes of travel: single-occupant vehicle, transit, and walking. Transportation research record, 1466, 44-52.

Gehrke, S. R., & Clifton, K. J. (2016). Toward a spatial-temporal measure of land-use mix. The Journal of Transport and Land Use, 9 (1), 171-186. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2015.725

Gehrke, S. R., & Clifton, K. J. (2017). An activity-related land use mix construct and its connection to pedestrian travel. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46 (1), 9-26. https://doi.org/10.1177/2399808317690157

Guzman, L. A., Pena, J., & Carrasco, J. A. (2020). Assessing the role of the built environment and sociodemographic characteristics on walking travel distances in Bogotá. Journal of Transport Geography, 88, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2020.102844

Handy, S., Cao, X., & Mokhtarian, P. (2005). Correlation or causality between the built environmentand travel behavior? Evidence from Northern California. Transportation Research Part D, 10, 427-444. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2005.05.002

Hu, P., & Huapu, L. (2007). Study on the impacts of urban density on the travel demand using GIS spatial analysis. Journal of Transportation Systems Engineering and Information Technology, 7 (4), 90-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1570-6672(07)60033-6

James, P., Berrigan, D., Hart, J. E., Hipp, A. J., Hoehner, C. M., Kerr, J., Major, J. M., Oka, M. & Laden, F. (2014). Effects of buffer size and shape on associations between the built environment and energy balance. Health & Place, 27, 162-170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.02.003

Kim, J., & Brownstone, D. (2013). The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and fuel consumption: Evidence from national samples. Energy Economics, 40, 196-206. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2013.06.012

Kockelman, K. (1997). Travel behaviour as a function of accessibility, land use mixing, and land use balance: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay area. Transportation Research Record, 1607, 116-125. https://doi.org/10.3141/1607-16

La Rocca, R. A. (2010). La mobilità negli strumenti di governo delle trasformazioni urbane. TeMA-Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/131

Lee, C., & Moudon, A. V. (2006). The 3Ds + R: Quantifying land use and urban form correlates of walking. Transportation Research Part D, 11, 204-215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2006.02.003

Levinson, H., & Wynn, H. F. (1963). Effects of density on urban transportation requirements. Highway Research Record, 2, 38-64.

Limanond, T., & Niemeier, D. A. (2004). Effect of land use on decisions of shopping tour generation: A case study of three traditional neighborhoods in WA. Transportation, 31, 153–181. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PORT.0000016578.21486.af

Limtanakool, N., Dijst, M., & Schwanen, T. (2006). The influence of socioeconomic characteristics, land use and travel time considerations on mode choice for medium-and longer-distance trips. Journal of Transport Geography, 14, 327-341. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2005.06.004

Masoumi, H. E., Asim, M., Anwer, I., & Aslam, S.A.B. (2020). Logistic models explaining the determinants of biking for commute and non-commute trips in Lahore, Pakistan. TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 13(3), 291-308. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/6983

Mavoa, S., Eagleson, S., Badland, H. M., Gunn, L., Boulange, C., Stewart, J., & Giles-Corti, B. (2018). Identifying appropriate land-use mix measures for use in a national walkability index. The Journal of Transport and Land Use, 11(1), 681-700. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2018.1132

McGarigal, K., & Ene, E. (2014). Fragstats: spatial pattern analysis program for categorical maps. Retrieved from: www.umass.edu/landeco/research/fragstats/fragstats.html

Miller, E. J., & Ibrahim, A. (1998). Urban form and vehicular travel: Some empirical findings. Transportation Research Record, 1617, 18-27. https://doi.org/10.3141/1617-03

Nari, A., & Zhang, L. (2018). A multi-dimensional multi-level approach to measuring the spatial structure of U.S. metropolitan areas. The Journal of Transport and Land Use, 11(1), 49-65. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2018.893

Newman, P. W., & Kenworthy, J. R. (1989). Gasoline consumption and cities: A comparison of US cities in a global survey. Journal of American Planning Association, 55, 24-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944368908975398

Nkeki, F. N. (2016). Spatio-temporal analysis of land use transition and urban growth characterization in Benin metropolitan region, Nigeria. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, 4, 119-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsase.2016.08.002

Nkeki, F. N., & Asikhia, M. O. (2019). Geographically weighted logistic regression approach to explore the spatial variability in travel behaviour and built environment interactions: Accounting simultaneously for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Applied Geography, 108, 47-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2019.05.008

Norland, R. B., & Thomas, J. V. (2007). Multivariate analysis of trip-chaining behavior. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 34, 953-970. https://doi.org/10.1068/b32120

NPC. (2006). Population and housing census of the federal republic of Nigeria. Nigeria: National Population Commission.

Pickrell, D. (1999). Transportation and land use. In J. Gomez-Ibanez, W. Tye, & C. Winston (Eds.), Essays in Transportation Economics and Policy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Ramachandra, T. V., Aithal, B. H., & Sanna, D. D. (2012). Insights to urban dynamics through landscape spatial pattern analysis. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 18, 329-343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2012.03.005

Reiff, B. (2003). Statistical analysis of urban design variables and their use in travel demand models. Oregon, USA: Oregon Department of Transportation.

Sarvestani, S., Ibrahim, A. L., & Kanaroglou, P. (2011). Three decades of urban growth in the city of Shiraz, Iran: A remote sensing and geographic information systems application. Cities, 28, 320-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2011.03.002

Schwanen, T., & Mokhtarian, P. (2005). What if you live in the wrong neighborhood? The impact of residential neighborhood type dissonance on distance traveled. Transportation Research D, 10, 127-151. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2004.11.002

Schwanen, T., Dieleman, F. M., & Dijst, M. (2001). Travel behavior in Dutch monocentric and polycentric urban systems. Journal of Transport Geography, 9(3), 173-186. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0966-6923(01)00009-6

Schwanen, T., Dieleman, F. M., & Dijst, M. (2004). The impacts of metropolitan structure on commute behaviour in the Netherlands: a multilevel approach. Growth and Change, 35, 304-333. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2257.2004.00251.x

Silva, J. A. (2014). Spatial self-selection in land use travel behaviour interactions: Accounting simultaneously for attitudes and socioeconomic characteristics. The Journal of Transport and Land use, 7 (2), 63-84. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.v7i2.696

Strauss, J., & Miranda-Moreno, L. F. (2013). Spatial modeling of bicycle activity at signalised intersections. The Journal of Transport and Land use, 6(2), 47-58. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.v6i2.296

Tsai, Y. (2005). Quantifying Urban Form: Compactness versus ‘Sprawl’. Urban Studies, 42 (1), 141-161. https://doi.org/10.1080/0042098042000309748

Wang, L., Chen, R., Sun, W., Yang, X., & Li, X. (2020). Impact of High-Density Urban Built Environment on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Case Study of Jing’an District, Shanghai. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17 (1), 252-267. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010252

Yang, J., & Zhou, P. (2020). The obesity epidemic and the metropolitan-scale built environment: Examining the health effects of polycentric development. Urban Studies, 57, 39-55. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098019844177

Yang, L., Hu, L., & Wang, Z. (2019). The built environment and trip chaining behaviour revisited: The joint effects of the modifiable areal unit problem and tour purpose. Urban Studies, 56 (4), 795-817. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098017749188

Yu, H., & Peng, Z. (2020). The impacts of built environment on ridesourcing demand: A neighbourhood level analysis in Austin, Texas. Urban Studies, 57 (1), 152-175. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098019828180

Zacharias, J. (2020). The contribution of a tramway to pedestrian vitality. Tema. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 13(3), 445-457. https://doi.org/10.6092/1970-9870/7197

Zahabi, S. A., Miranda-Moreno, L. F., Patterson, Z., & Barla, P. (2012). Evaluating the effects of land use and strategies for parking and transit supply on mode choice. The Journal of Transport and Land use, 5 (2), 103-119. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.v5i2.260

How to Cite
Nkeki, N., & Asikhia, M. (2021). Quantifying the urban built environment: a neighbourhood-scale analysis. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 14(2), 189-209. https://doi.org/10.6093/1970-9870/8003