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Walkability: Urban Geography: Walkability Project

Fairmont State University, the college “on the hill” and Fairmont, WV are an ideal location for students to explore the many sub-disciplines and aspects of urban geography, the study of cities and urban processes.

Urban Geography

Urban geography is the study of cities and urban processes. Fairmont State University, the college “on the hill” and Fairmont, WV are an ideal location for students to explore aspects of urban geography (human geography, geography, geoscience, urban planning and more) through walkability.  

The Urban Geography (Spring 2020) class at Fairmont State University created a Walkability Resource for Fairmont State University based on their professional backgrounds. It provides a quick guide to the intersection of urban geography, walkability, and its role in campus community relationships.

Importance of Walkability on Campus

Focus on Fairmont State University and neighboring region because the university is a part of the greater community.

  • Students live ON campus, IN Fairmont city, and  commute to school
  •  Varying accessibility needed  by people that visit or work on campus
  • The physical environment, terrain, and weather are important for joint health, proper way to walk stairs
  • Utilize local knowledge for the fastest ways around campus if you are running late, quickest routes to class, visiting for event
  • Increased use of technology means walkability includes routes with most tech (chargers, etc.) 
  • Walkability extends to inside buildings and public spaces
  •  Access to outdoor recreation attracts students to parks (city and state), trails, bike lanes, and other outdoor areas 
  • Students need to be able to get to hospitals and other essential services for students
  •  Walkable universities are inviting to businesses and improve economic development. 

What is walkability?

“The term walkable has been in use since at least the 18th century (Oxford English Dictionary 2013). In contrast, walkability is a more recent term, relatively rarely defined in dictionaries but in common use. If people are using the terms successfully, why bother to more clearly define them?

2015 A. Forsyth. What is a Walkable Place? The Walkability Debate in Urban Design. Urban Design International 20, 4: 274-292.

Measuring Walkability

ESRI Walkability Community Survey

Complete Communities Kit, University of Delaware


Path Analysis: Measuring Distance

Google Maps

Measuring Campus Distance