The Impact of Street Accessibility on Community Relations and Health in Residential Neighbourhoods (Case Study: Penang, Malaysia)
Increasing community relations in residential neighbourhoods is part of mechanisms of improving residents’ health and wellbeing. It provides a great opportunity for designers and planners to achieve high quality and sustainable residential developments. Certain characteristics of the neighbourhood can affect residents’ behaviour in the neighbourhood environment. The current study focuses on the impact of street permeability and accessibility on residents’ social cohesion and health in a sample of 271 residents in Penang, Malaysia. The study is quantitative in nature and is based on both descriptive and inferential statistics. The required information was collected based on on-site observation and a questionnaire survey. Four research hypotheses were advanced and tested using the structural equation modelling on a priori hypothesised conceptual model. We also investigated the mediating effect of social cohesion on the relationship between permeability and health. This study employed the structural equation modelling approach to analyse the data using SPSS and AMOS software. The results of analysis indicated that permeability has significant impacts on social cohesion and health. Findings also indicated that social cohesion mediates the relationship between permeability and health. Residents living in highly permeable streets are more likely to receive a low social cohesion and health, meaning that those living in cul-de-sacs perceived higher levels of social cohesion and subsequently, higher health than those living in through roads. This suggests that road hierarchy in residential areas has positive impact on social cohesion and health. Therefore, based on the study findings, we suggest that local planning authorities need to pay attention to some important matters of neighbourhoods such as street permeability and road hierarchy.
Amayesh Journal, No. 44, 2019
201 - 223
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