Walkability score is the new ocean view

When people are buying or renting houses and apartments walkability is one of the most influencing factors of how attractive a place is considered to be

Walking is important in making a place great

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Research over the last 20 years have shown that the best cities to live in have one thing in common: They are walkable

To many it came as a bit of a surprise when computer data and big data statistics showed that walking was such an important factor… and cars not – “auto dependency” actually have a negative influence.

People simply thrive better and want to pay more for a place where they can walk to where they need and want to go. To the shops, the library, to friends, to the theater, attractions, parks and beaches.

Walking makes us healthier and we live longer

The American city planner Jeff Speck is one of the most knowing experts on walkability and walkable cities. And he puts it this way:

“Comparison of walkable cities and auto-dependent suburbs yields some eye-opening statistics – for example, that transit users are more than three times as likely as drivers to achieve their CDC-recommended thirty minutes of of daily physical activity. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the American health-care crisis is largely an urban-design crisis, with walkability at the heart of the cure.”

Quote from Jeff Speck in “walkable City” ( Book – 2012)

Walk score

There is even a program and an app that rates places and help real-estate investors and families decide if they want to invest and move to a location. It is called “walkscore” and is also a program that calculate how attractive a place is, on a scale from 1-100, simply from its walkability.

The walkscore program and data has been around since 2007 and through the last 20 years it has been found to show very consistently that when a town, neighborhood or city invest in making it easier, safer and more attractive to walk – thrive, happines and real estate prices rise.

Walking out of, and between towns

The next level of walkability could very well be, not only to make walking inside the cities better, but also to make walking between cities and to attractive nature areas more easy, maybe even putting up signs, footpaths and huts for the walkers… Then we would get a fine grained web of hiking trails, connecting the urban reality with the landscapes, making not only city stolling better but also hiking, with all the added benefits that comes with that.



Jeff Speck ( Author of the book: “The Walkable City”

Keywords: city design, hiking, trails, urbanity, thrive, metropolis, walking, pedestrian, sidewalk, urban planning, walkability

Ink sketch of two kinds of city the walkable city and the car dependent city. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Sketching up how walkability might look
Drawing of a street with driving cars as the logic one one side (grey and no thrive ) and walking as the logic on the other side ( green and filled with life )
Illustration of a city designed for cars and driving vs. a city designed for walking and thrive. There are some very clear and easy to accomplish differences – One of the best way to accomplish them is simply to design the city for walking.

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