2005 volume 32(2) pages 265 – 280
doi:10.1068/b3038

Cite as:
Burton E, Weich S, Blanchard M, Prince M, 2005, "Measuring physical characteristics of housing: the Built Environment Site Survey Checklist (BESSC)" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 32(2) 265 – 280

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Measuring physical characteristics of housing: the Built Environment Site Survey Checklist (BESSC)

Elizabeth Burton, Scott Weich, Martin Blanchard, Martin Prince

Received 30 June 2003; in revised form 19 August 2004

Abstract. Empirical research in the built environment field is hampered by a lack of reliable measurement tools. The authors argue that there is a need for measures of built form that are objective, descriptive, comprehensive, reliable, practical, and address all environmental scales. They outline the development of an instrument to measure physical characteristics of housing for use in a study funded by the Wellcome Trust, on the effects of regeneration on mental health. The Built Environment Site Survey Checklist (BESSC) contains a wide range of items designed to be rated by built environment specialists for individual predetermined `housing areas'. The interrater reliability of the BESSC was tested using the κ and weighted κ statistics for categorical variables and item rankings and intraclass correlation coefficients for continuous measures. The majority of the items were found to be reliable and, although the instrument requires further refinement, it offers substantial potential for investigation of the relative merits of alternative urban forms and the generation of research-based design guidance

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