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PhD Project

If you build it who will come - The effects of changing the built environment walkability in walking behavior

Cities worldwide are investing in physical interventions towards the promotion of walking. The benefits of walkable urban areas have become recognized as having positive effects for the social, health and economic well-being of a society, and regarded as an essential factor in the creation of livable communities. Walking is the elementary means of people moving around, integrating and living the urban space and accomplishing salutary physical activity. Changing the built environment involves high costs and has long lasting implications yet there is little robust evidence that such interventions are an effective strategy to promote walking. As a result, planning –and implementation- of environmental interventions to promote walking seems to be made on the reasonable expectation of “if you build it they will come”.

Our research goal is to deepen the understanding of how the built environment interventions towards the promotion of walking influences the walking behavior and the walking experience of distinct pedestrians types and how can the effects on walking behavior and experience be used to assess the success or effectiveness of a built environment intervention.The proposed research will have a substantial practical application, using data from a real world case. The selected case study is the “Eixo Central” intervention in Lisbon, a large scale intervention to improve the walking conditions in one of the cities’ largest transport corridor.

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Paulo Cambra

PhD Candidate

Filipe Moura



Walkability · Walking behavior · Before-After · Active mobility


This research is supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), through the Ph.D. grant PD/BD/113735/2015.