What’s your Walk Score?

I’ve lived in quite a few different places in my life. Some places I’ve loved living, and some I couldn’t wait to get away from. The same goes when visiting cities here in the US. I’ve been to a lot of them, but only a few are memorable and enjoyable to visit. What I found interesting was that the places I really connected with all had one thing in common. They were all walkable neighborhoods.

What makes a neighborhood walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

© Urban Advantage and Roma Design

Walk Score is a fantastic website where you can check how walkable your location is. Walk Score is officially supported in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. At the moment however it seems most accurate in the US, because it doesn’t seem to pick up on transit options in Australia.

I’ve determined the walk scores of some of the places I’ve lived over the years. Not surprisingly, the places I hated living were ‘Car Dependent’ (Walk-score between 0-49). The places I’ve loved to live have been classed as ‘Very Walkable’ (Walk-score between 70-89).

I’ll certainly be checking the walk score of any potential rental properties when we start looking in Canberra next year.

Photo by: Daniel*1977

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7 comments

  1. 97/100 on the walk-o-meter….sweet. Of all the downside to NYC, one enormous plus is not having to mess with a car. It’ll be almost impossible to beat wherever I go next.

    Driving here is pretty stupid, and everybody avoids it at all costs which is pretty awesome. BTW, I keep finding “rogue” gardens all over Manhattan. Somebody planted basil under every tree on Columbus Ave. for about 10 blocks.

  2. Ours isn’t particularly walkable unless you want to walk the 15 minutes to town, but it IS cyclable.

    Better yet, when it comes to Peak Oil and all that stuff, we live in a high food production area, and own a farm.

    I guess I figure there’s no point in being able to walk to shops that are empty, is there?

    But in the meanwhile, walkability is nice. And our kids school and kindy are very close by – cyclable again, if we had to, not walkable when you’re talking a three year old.

    We’ve relocalized from a city of 3 1/2 million people (Melbourne Australia) to a town of 10,000 (Mosgiel/Wingatui, NZ) and are only starting to learn what sustainability really means. It’s been a journey of learning, and much joy 🙂

    But perhaps the biggest advantage has been the affordability of property. Here we own a farm – in Melbourne, we were struggling to own a 2 bedroom apartment. And it is sooo beautiful 😀

  3. It seems to be picking up transit info for Perth – but our Transperth people have made their data freely available to all comers, they’re pretty good about it (surprisingly enough!).

  4. Very interesting indeed. I live in a small town in Wiltshire, UK. We are fortunate to have a train station about 15 mins (fast) walk from home. We can walk into the centre of town in 20 mins. We have a large shop 5 minutes from us. We are very fortunate. There’s a towpath for cycling and walking too. Walking locally means you get to speak to people and smile! I’m off to look at Walk Score now…

  5. An excellent idea but what does it change? I checked several locations along the main highway east of Perth and found scores in the very low end. Total dependence on the car. Then checking what the system thinks are “parks” of which there are some major ones along this road – zip. Instead it records caravan parks? It also seems open to a bit of advertising gain for the smart users if you can bother to go through the Google data suction devices.

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