Assessing social and spatial equity of neighborhood retail and service access in Seoul, South Korea

Donghyun Kim, Jina Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Creating a sustainable urban space should allow everyone to benefit from urbanization regardless of their ability. Spatial equity is one of the significant factors of sustainability. Several studies have explored pedestrian accessibility and spatial equity, but few researchers have addressed daily retail activities. This study aimed to examine the equity of pedestrian accessibility to neighborhood retail and service (NRS) establishments in Seoul, Korea. Accessibility of NRSs was measured by pedestrian direction API and spatially clustered by local indicators of spatial association (LISA). Equity was examined using the Mann–Whitney U test to test the difference between socioeconomic and built environment variables between high and low accessibility areas. We found that vulnerable groups favored access to the NRSs over more affluent groups. This study’s results suggest that urban planners and designers should contemplate ways to enhance the walkability of the residents and continually monitor accessibility to prevent urban problems, such as food deserts and retail deserts. Additionally, the results provide empirical evidence for achieving equity in urban development and urban retail systems to further enhance sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8537
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2020 Oct 2


  • Accessibility
  • Equity
  • Neighborhood retail
  • Pedestrian directions API
  • Socially disadvantaged group
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Walkable city


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