Developing cities report higher walk shares in comparison to their developed city counterpart. Also, they present a strikingly different set of challenges and opportunities in their pedestrian environments. The need to enhance our understanding of environmental attributes, which encourage pedestrians to participate (or not) in walking and walking-related activities, has prompted this pedestrian-scale face-to-face questionnaire survey on one developing city. This paper has three aims, namely: examine the pedestrian decision making process, apply the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to empirically define the hierarchy of pedestrian needs (criteria), and examine the relative priorities of environmental attributes (alternatives) that satisfy the pedestrian needs, with the end goal of realising a positive walking environment. A total of 70 respondents were collected via face-to-face questionnaire survey which was rolled out in the Quiapo District (Manila, Philippines). Results of this study demonstrated the feasibility of AHP in supporting an evidence-based approach to defining the pedestrian need hierarchy. Moreover, it established that the most important criteria is protection rather than mobility. Traditionally, the design of pedestrian facilities (e.g. sidewalks/pathways) was premised on the need to move. Moreover, based on the survey, the relative priority of the criteria in the order of most important to least important priority is: protection, ease, equitable access, mobility, identity and enjoyment. This comprises the pedestrian need-hierarchy, which served as the theoretical framework of this paper. This paper presents an alternative approach at quantifying qualitative criteria and attributes that served relevant to the pedestrian decision-making process. Moreover, this research sheds light on the importance of a user-centred needs-assessment approach to better understand pedestrian decision-making and behaviour.