Walking mediates associations between the neighborhood environment and flourishing

Allison Ross, Josephine Godwyll, Mark Searle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Considerable attention has been directed toward the neighborhood as a critical context affecting health and wellbeing. The particular mechanisms that explain this relationship are still under investigation. The ability to flourish, or live life with purpose and value, is contingent upon engaging in meaningful activities. We investigate whether the amount and type of walking within the neighborhood mediates the relationship between perceptions of the physical and social neighborhood environment and flourishing. Materials and methods: An online survey was administered to a representative sample of adults (n = 796) in Phoenix, Arizona (US). The survey included items from validated scales measuring perceptions of the built environment, neighborhood cohesion, and flourishing. Structural equation modeling with bootstrapping was used to test the mediating effects of walking for 150+ min per week and walking for recreation on the relationship between perceptions of the neighborhood environment and flourishing. Results: Walking for 150+ min per week mediated relationships between the built environment and flourishing (β = 0.020, 95%CI 0.001 0.065) and neighboring behavior and flourishing (β = 0.027, 95%CI 0.005 0.071). Walking for recreation was directly associated with both the built environment and neighboring but did not contribute to flourishing. Conclusions: Walking for at least 150 min per week is one mechanism that may explain how the environment contributes to individual flourishing within the context of the neighborhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100014
JournalWellbeing, Space and Society
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Flourishing
  • Neighborhood
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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