America’s most walkable neighborhoods

lifestyle design — By on March 30, 2009 at 7:15 am

Do you know your neighborhood’s walk score?

I recently came across a fascinating website called Walk Score – it ranks America’s most walkable cities and enables you to find the “walk score” for your own neighborhood. Simply enter your address and it will create a map of all the stores, restaurants, schools, parks and libraries within walking distance of your home and then compute your walk score.

The benefits of living in a walkable environment are fairly obvious, but for what it’s worth here is how Alan Durning explains the benefits on the Walk Score website:

Compact, walkable communities—the opposite of poorly planned sprawl—are the solution to some of our biggest shared challenges, from childhood obesity to social isolation, from crash deaths to disappearing farmland, from the high price of gas to the architectural blight of strip development.

They’re even one of our most powerful weapons against climate change—they conserve fossil fuels like nobody’s business. (It takes effort to burn gasoline when everything is so close to your front door.) But the main reason to love walkable neighborhoods is their human energy: they’re fun, lively, memorable…not boring.

Here is how they rank 138 “walker’s paradises” – the most walkable neighborhoods in the 40 biggest cities in the U.S. It’s a nice companion piece to Prevention magazine’s own rankings of the best walking cities, which includes such places as Cambridge, MA; Ann Arbor, MI, and Madison, WI, that don’t appear on the Walk Score rankings of larger cities. Between the two, you can come up with a comprehensive list of the best places to live if you enjoy walking and would rather not have to drive everywhere. In the meantime, go to Walk Score and find out how your neighborhood ranks.

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