Student work in Het Parool

Published on
January 4, 2016

The MSc thesis project "Designing a runner friendly city" by Mart Reiling and Thijs Dolders was picked up by Het Parool and they had an article on the subject. They analyzed the most popular running routes of the Amsterdam runner for the AMS Institute.

Dutch article in Het Parool January 3rd.

Picked up by January 4th.

Abstract of the thesis:

This landscape architectural study aims to develop design principles that improve the spatial conditions of (sub) urban public space for running, thus contributing to designing healthy cities.

In order to be able to design for this specific active group, it has been essential to gain knowledge of two factors: the spatial behaviour of runners and the preferred spatial experiences/ spatial requirements that determine this behaviour.

By analysing data from mobile running apps, crowd sourced based data, which is a newly available source of data, knowledge on running behaviour was generated on a level that has not yet been possible before. In this study data was analysed from more than 110.000 running activities in Amsterdam, collected from the mobile running applications Runkeeper and Strava. This data includes where and when people have been running.

Differences in running locations are studied between: long and short distance runners, during different times of the day (light hours and dark hours), during different times of the week, during different seasons and during different outdoor temperatures. Based on this data, two locations in Amsterdam South-West have been chosen that showed concerning datapatterns.

In these regions, results were compared to a series of surveys in which runners were questioned in order to understand what spatial experiences were required to determine their preferred running route. The surveys also gave explanation of negative spatial experiences at the two ‘problemlocations’.
Through designing, possibilities to integrate these spatial requirements into the two problem areas were explored and visualized.

The possibilities to make Amsterdam a more runner friendly city frequently related to creating convincing slow traffic networks: well recognizable (belonging to a recognizable spatial entity), uninterrupted, fine-grained, with clear start/stop locations and integer/certain distances. In addition, finding a balance between tranquillity and vibrancy, directly relating to (lack of) safety or an (overload of) nuisance, were important design themes.