A walkable city is one where daily errands do not require a car. Sanjeev Sanyal, president of the Sustainable Planet Institute and Global Strategist at Deutsche Bank defines it as “allowing an average citizen to use walking as an important, if not dominant mode of transport for work and leisure.” It may seem odd to have the president of a global bank talking about walkability but according to Sanyal, walkable neighborhoods provide cheap, low technology solutions to issues of environmental, economic and social sustainability while also generating more economic value to a successful city. Here’s the article.
So why should it matter to you? It’s not just that walkable cities are healthier—people in walkable neighborhoods weigh 6 to 10 pounds less that those who don’t according to www.walkscore.com. But people who walk in their neighborhoods are more likely to know their neighbors, be actively involved in their community and be happier and healthier. People who live in walkable communities feel that they have more friends, feel their neighborhoods are safer and are more active according to Rudy Kadlub, a Portland, Oregon-based develop of new urbanist, transit-oriented housing projects. See that article here. Another article is even more succinct. Walkable communities are more fun.
What makes a city or neighborhood walkable? The most critical factor is sidewalks or walking paths. Other criteria are: crime rate (perceived or real), aesthetics, distance to destinations such as shopping areas, parks or playgrounds, and comfort (are their benches and shelters for instance). To find out how your neighborhood or city rates, check out this website. Still not convinced that a walkable neighborhood is more valuable than one that isn’t? According to this study, the average age at which driving was given up was 72 years but the average age people intended to give up driving was 79 years. If your neighborhood isn’t walkable, how do you propose to age in place?
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