Graduation Semester and Year

Spring 2023



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Joowon Im

Second Advisor

Letora Anderson

Third Advisor

Amy Archambeau


Current research finds that the number of students walking to school is decreasing overall. This is despite the fact that many students live within walking distance. The distance that a family lives from school as well as traffic safety concerns have been found to be the primary barriers to walking to school. In addition, lower density development, urban form, parental attitudes, and the primary mode of transportation for parents to commute to work can each affect the choice to walk for students. While in built urban and suburban areas, the neighborhood form can likely not be changed, street-level changes that address many barriers to walking such as traffic shielding elements, sidewalk conditions, landscaping, and interactive elements could alter attitudes favorably towards walking as a means of transportation for their children.

The purpose of this study was to implement different landscape architecture elements of the sidewalk corridor that address traffic safety, crime safety, pleasureability, and accessibility to assess the change in perception towards walking in adolescents. This study focused on the arterial roads in the Polytechnic Heights neighborhood of Fort Worth: Beach Street, Rosedale Street, and Vickery Boulevard as they serve as important routes for walking students at the local Polytechnic High School and William James Middle School. Qualitative research methods for this study included field observation and a walkability audit of existing conditions. Quantitative methods included a Likert scale survey of opinions and indexing of walkability features. The site of Polytechnic Heights in Fort Worth was selected based on proximity of middle and high schools to arterial roads, high population of students in a demographic more likely to walk, and previous design and planning initiatives in the neighborhood. Attitudes towards streetscape design elements were measured using a survey after students experienced the designs in 3D virtual reality. Responses were categorized based on what facet of walkability students respond to favorably.

Analysis of survey results found that design elements that provided access to amenities and community resources had the most positive effect on students’ perceptions of walking. Design for perceived safety from traffic had the least impact on students’ opinions towards walkability. The results of this survey activity also suggest the potential for virtual reality as a presentation medium for design testing and community engagement.


Walkability, Streetscape design



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