A Theoretical Model for Urban Walking Among People With Disabilities
Journal article, 2020

This paper is an attempt to advance research on walking at a neighborhood level of
analysis for people with disabilities by proposing a theoretical model that combines the
knowledge of two disciplines: traffic planning and environmental psychology. The aim is
to provide guidance for a discussion and a plan for future interdisciplinary investigations
by proposing a model that accounts for the dynamic interaction between environmental
characteristics, human processes, and walking experience among individuals with a
disability. For this purpose, traffic planners, and environmental psychologists came
together to discuss theories, concepts, and thematic relevance in a series of focus group
meetings. These meetings led to the selection of the Human Environment Interaction
(HEI) model, originally developed from the field of environmental psychology and
operationalized to describe how walking experiences result from the interplay between
individual abilities, emotional processes, and the physical and social characteristics of
the environment (K├╝ller, 1991). The proposed model aims to sustain interdisciplinary
discussion and research planning around the topic of neighborhood walking for people
with disabilities. By operationalizing each dimension in the model, a good fit between
groups with disabilities and individual differences associated with walking experiences is
assumed, which, in turn, will have the potential to provide a more conscious analysis
of wellbeing-related outcomes, such as usability of the environment, frequency of
mobility, and quality of life. However, to improve understanding of urban walking at a
neighborhood level for people with disabilities, empirical studies must be carried out to
test the proposed model.

urban walking

theoretical model

traffic planning

environmental psychology

people with disabilities


Elizabeth Marcheschi

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Agneta Stahl

Lund University

Mai Almen

HinderfriDesign AB

Maria Johansson

Lund University

Frontiers in Psychology

1664-1078 (ISSN)

Vol. 11 156 1-12 156

Subject Categories

Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified

Applied Psychology





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7/3/2020 6