The benefits of walkable communities

Designing communities that are pedestrian-friendly and promote walking are becoming more and more important, and that’s because of the vast benefits that walkable communities bring.

“It is a neighborhood type defined by services within walking distance of residents, a pedestrian orientation that minimizes car dependence, and a level of density and land-use diversity that is higher than the typical American suburb . . . Our focus is on the general parameters of the compact, walkable, and diverse neighborhood as a type distinct from auto-dependent, single-use suburbs.” [Huffington Post]

According to Walkscore, the qualities that make a neighbourhood walkable are:

  • A centre space, like a main street or a green space
  • People
  • Mixed income and mixed use
  • Parks and public spaces
  • Pedestrian design (buildings close to the street, etc.)
  • Schools and workplaces
  • Complete streets (designed for cyclists, pedestrians and transit)

Walkability is a desirable feature of a community because of its many benefits, both for individuals and for cities. Here’s a quick look at some of the ways walkable neighbourhoods are beneficial:

  • Reduced driving: with walkable areas, comes less cars on the road and a reduction in the emissions and the traffic.
  • Reduced cost of living: with less driving to do, residents can save on costs associated (gas, maintenance, etc.).
  • Increases healthy lifestyles: when communities are built for walking, people tend to walk more which increases a healthy lifestyle and decreases obesity.
  • Promotes sociability: compact and walkable neighbourhoods promote social interaction between residents and community members.
  • Helps the economy: many studies have shown that walkable communities are prone to prosperity and boost the economy. Read more in this story from CityLab.

Do you think your community is walkable? Tell us on social media!