Dynamic cities: Spatial accessibility as a function of time

Authors: Henrikki Tenkanen*, Digital Geography Lab, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Olle Järv, Digital Geography Lab, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Maria Salonen, Digital Geography Lab, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Rein Ahas, Mobility Lab, University of Tartu, Tuuli Toivonen, Digital Geography Lab, Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban and Regional Planning, Transportation Geography
Keywords: spatial accessibility, spatio-temporal, GIS, dynamic accessibility, spatial mobility, mobile phone data, GTFS data, Tallinn, grocery stores, food accessibility
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor


Fast urbanization and growing global problems induce increasing pressure on planning socially and environmentally sustainable cities. Effective planning requires comprehensive understanding on the dynamics and interactions within the social fabric of cities. The concept of accessibility – the potential of opportunities for interaction in a given period of time – can facilitate the understanding by binding together the key components of a functional urban structure: people, mobility and social activities. Temporality of these interactions has, however, often been neglected at least in spatial analyses of accessibility. Here, we present a conceptual framework of dynamic accessibility that emphasizes the interactions between people, transport and activity locations, but also the dynamic nature of each component. Furthermore, we demonstrate an empirical implementation of the framework using novel data sources and tools. We show the importance of considering the temporal dynamics in accessibility and that conventional atemporal accessibility models overestimate the access of people to potential opportunities. We demonstrate this finding further by an example of assessing social (in)equality. The proposed framework is universally applicable beyond urban context from local to global scale and on different temporal scales and transport systems. It also bridges the location-based accessibility and a person-based accessibility research.

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