Pedestrian routes and accessibility to urban services: An urban rhythmic analysis on people's behaviour before and during the Covid-19

Keywords: People's behaviours, Pedestrian networks, Urban accessibility, Rhythmic analysis, GIS


The emergency of Covid-19 changed the face of our cities, preventing most of the urban activities, limiting travels on large, medium and short distances and drastically reducing the number and the intensity of social relationships. The restrictive measures, imposed to the entire population, sensibly affected the experience of our built environment as well as the assets of pedestrian and cycling network that lead to the achievement of essential urban services. On one hand these limitations drastically imposed a change in the people's habits who spend now more time walking and cycling in absence of any other entertainments; on the other, they have revealed the need of a reorganisation of pedestrians and cycling paths as well as of open spaces.  The morphology of these urban spaces are unable to cope with the current social-distancing situation and to adapt to a “new different routine”. Local decision makers face with a new demand of urban space for pedestrian and cycling accessibility which have been so far unexplored. In order to contribute to future planning decisions, the document proposes a comparison between pedestrian flows and accessibility to urban services during the blockade, taking two districts in the city of Aberdeen as a case study. By adopting an urban rhythmic analysis, the selected areas were monitored on a weekly basis during different periods during the days in order to quantify the intensity of the user, the available services and their opening and closing times also change the date obtained from rhythmic analysis they are associated in a GIS environment in order to classify urban areas. Drawn on the concepts of new social distancing and switch of life/working habits as main factors for redesigning the pedestrian and cycling urban spaces, the paper proposes, as a conclusion, specific urban design recommendations in order to deal with emergency situations, such as an outbreak movement limitation.


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Author Biographies

Cecilia Zecca, Robert Gordon University Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment, Aberdeen, UK

She is an architect and lecturer in architecture and built environment at International College Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Her research interests focus on contemporary urban and architectural phenomena of abandonment and on the discrepancy between academic expected qualitative design and real solutions often adopted during projects of regeneration. Her PhD research work provided a theoretical base for a series of applied collaborative urban design activities, involving international academic partners, local authorities and professionals from planning departments.

Federica Gaglione, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (DICEA), University of Naples Federico II

PhD student at the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (DICEA), University of Naples Federico II

Richard Laing, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK

He is a full professor of Built Environment Visualisation at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. His research concentrates on the subject of visualisation and its use within public evaluation of open space, built heritage and urban design. His skills in relation to visual environmental valuation have developed through his leading significant externally funded research projects. He is a trained chairman and assessor for the RICS APC. He has represented the RICS on the European Construction Technology Platform, and he is a member of EPSRC peer review college.

Carmela Gargiulo, Department of Civil, Building and Environmental Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

She is full professor of Urban Planning at the University of Naples Federico II. Since 1987 she has been involved in studies on the management of urban and territorial transformations. Her research interests focus on the processes of urban requalification, on relationships between urban transformations and mobility, and on the estate exploitation produced by urban transformations. On these subjects she has co-ordinated several research teams. Author of more than 150 publications.


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How to Cite
ZeccaC., GaglioneF., LaingR., & GargiuloC. (2020). Pedestrian routes and accessibility to urban services: An urban rhythmic analysis on people’s behaviour before and during the Covid-19. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 13(2), 241-256.