Urban Geography (2003) 24(8): 647-671.
Evaluating the Effects of Geographic Contexts on
Individual Accessibility: A Multilevel Approach
Joe Weber and Mei-Po Kwan
Centrality within a city and neighborhood characteristics have often been
used as indicators of access to employment and services in statements about
urban form and accessibility, but there are reasons to question the
appropriateness of doing so. This paper evaluates the importance of geographic
context within the urban environment (both location within cities as well as
neighborhoods characteristics) for individuals in Portland, Oregon.
Because conventional accessibility measures cannot incorporate individual
characteristics, space-time individual accessibility measures were used
with multilevel modeling to isolate the effects of individual level variations
from that of geographical context. The results show the influence of context
on individual accessibility is weak, as accessibility tends to reflect individual
and household characteristics rather than the local urban environment.
Accessibility cannot be determined from location within cities, or from land
uses around an individualís home, implying that the use of urban design to
influence accessibility is inappropriate.
Key Words: accessibility, local context, New Urbanism
View Full Paper .
Return to Kwan's Homepage