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Aesthetic aspects of walking and cycling

Timms, PM and Tight, MR (2010) Aesthetic aspects of walking and cycling. Built Environment, 36 (4). 487 - 503 (16). ISSN 0263-7960


For reasons of energy efficiency, health and the avoidance of climate change, it is desirable to encourage walking and cycling. However, step changes will be required to reverse years of decline in these transport modes. Recent thinking about how these might be achieved have concentrated on traditional transport policy measures, namely economic, engineering and information based instruments, while little emphasis has been put on the aesthetic dimension how the attractiveness of the built environment might be a significant factor in influencing walking and cycling. This paper argues that conceptualization of the aesthetic attractiveness of the street scene necessary to make walking and cycling pleasurable experiences is made difficult by the high degree of subjectivity involved and the likelihood that attitudes to the street scene may change in the future. In response to such problems, the paper suggests that there is a need for philosophical analysis of the issues involved. An introduction to such analysis is provided by a review of aesthetic thinking about landscapes and townscapes. This concentrates on research concerning the relevance of the forerunners of modern aesthetics, the eighteenth-century philosophers Hume and Kant, who attempted to tackle, on a generalized level, the types of problem raised here. As a result of this review, it is clear that there are no simple formulae or mechanisms by which aesthetic assessments can be applied off the shelf. Rather, the consideration of the historical philosophical arguments historically made about aesthetics can help provide a platform for generating insights on a case-by-case basis.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 13:31
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 03:53
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2148/benv.36.4.487
Status: Published
Publisher: Alexandrine press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.2148/benv.36.4.487
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43289

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