The other day, I got myself sidetracked (I know, focus month, right?) onto a site called Walk Score®. I was intrigued.
One of the main requirements when deciding on our most recent home purchase was the walkability of the neighborhood. I didn’t just measure this by the presence of sidewalks. No, I wanted to be able to get anywhere I needed to go without getting in my car. (Kind of like New York City, but less polluted, and less stressful.)
Since this was such a big factor in selecting my home (one block from a grocery store, two blocks from a restaurant – and acupuncture, and three blocks from the main shopping street in our town), I figured my home’s walk score would be awesome.
And it was! It got a 98 out of 100 (just like Manhattan, NY).
It made me think of different types of neighborhoods and communities that are especially well suited for walking.
Smart Small Towns
I live in a smart small town. It’s smart, because it values local business. As such, we have everything we need right here in our little town (OK, except perhaps large bulletin boards).
We can buy school and office supplies at the local pharmacy. We enjoy a variety (although, there could always be more!) of restaurants that are a 5-10 minutes walk away. And we even have all sorts of amazing alternative health providers standing by to make us all feel our very best.
Furthermore, we’re privileged to have amazing trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
Living is a smart small town is a great way to have a walkable community.
Old Big Cities
It feels like the older a city, the better the walkability. And this makes sense… If the city was planned and conceived prior to the automobile era, it was designed to accomodate pedestrians (and horses).
I love visiting cities where I can take a train or cab from the airport to the city center and not set foot in a vehicle until it’s time to go back home.
Chicago, New York, Stockholm, Helsinki, London, and Paris are cities that come to mind.
If you know in your heart that you were meant to live in a big city, go for it! You’ll stay trim just walking back and forth to work each day. (And you’ll have your pick of any cuisine in the world!)
Master Planned Communities
There are communities that are planned around the automobile and the freeway, and then there are master planned communities.
Even though the term sounds fancy, expensive, and a bit elitist, master planned communities really have some amazing qualities. Especially those communities, such as Summerlin in Las Vegas, NV, which are all about the outdoors. While people in poorly planned suburbs have to take their car to get to the park, residents of master planned communities can walk to the park, hike on 100s of hiking trails, and access grocery stores, banks, and restaurants in minutes.
And if the master planned community is also sustainably designed, it seems like a win-win situation.
Over to You!
Are you able to walk where you need to go? If not, is this something you’re considering for your next move?