Hao Zhang (PhD '20)

Hao Zhang.

Dissertation Title:

Fostering Pedestrianism: Assessing Neighborhood Streetscape Features for Pedestrian Activity a Case Study in Shanghai

Dissertation Committee:

Li Yin (Chair)
Bumjoon Kang
Heather Orom

Dissertation abstract

The dissertation aims to investigate the association of streetscape features with pedestrian activity in Shanghai. Streetscape features related to pedestrian activity have not been studied as extensively as macro-level built environment characteristics such as the D variables. The majority of research on built environment and walkability have been conducted in developed countries where environmental interventions suggested to promote walking may differ from China. The study enriches current literature by 1) expanding a fine-grained examination of streetscape design that enables walkability in China; 2) providing evidence-based intervention strategies to promote walking in Shanghai; 3) further developing objective, replicable, and consistent methodologies to study eye-level streetscape features.

The findings suggest that streetscape features that appear within high-high clusters of pedestrian counts share commonalities such as the presence of more active street frontage, more windows on the street, and a higher density of pedestrian generators. While within low-low clusters of pedestrian counts, gated communities are prevalent with fewer pedestrian generators. The findings are consistent with previous studies in terms of the identified streetscape features related to pedestrian activity. Two context-specific streetscape features related to pedestrian activity in Shanghai are recognized as gated communities and street barriers. Neither design nor diversity are significantly associated with pedestrian count, which echoes with findings of some recent studies on other high-density cities in Asia and South America. This study highlights the significance of modifying micro level streetscape features in addition to macro-level built environment characteristics to affect pedestrian experiences and create walking-friendly neighborhoods in Chinese cities.

How did your experience at UB shape your research and career goals?

I worked as a Research Assistant for the Center for Urban Studies and a Graduate Assistant for the Asian Studies Program at UB.

My experience at UB was extremely valuable in terms of shaping my research and career goals. I learned both qualitative and quantitative research methods from professional and wonderful faculty members and researchers such as my advisor Prof. Li Yin, PhD Director Robert Silverman, Prof. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. and many more. My family and PhD colleagues also generously helped me throughout difficult times during my doctoral program. All these experiences have broadened my horizon, and will forever be a treasure for me when pursuing my career goals.

Peer-reviewed publications

Tell us what you're up to now

I am currently an independent researcher and am applying for jobs in the field including urban planning, spatial analysis and GIS application, sustainable development and healthy city research, etc.