When most people think of suburban life, they probably think of tree-lined streets, large lots with ample backyards, and minivans carpooling kids to school. While they were once considered the ideal location to raise a family, suburbs as we know it are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Years ago, people did everything they could to get away from the big city, and many middle-and upper-class families moved to the 'burbs while commuting downtown for work. Today, younger buyers are looking for something more. Gone are the days of cul-de-sacs and a culture built around the automobile. People want to get out and about. They don't want to drive to the grocery store or to the park, they want to have all these urban amenities within walking distance.
Home buying trends show that younger buyers prefer areas close to mass transit and shopping. We live in a world where gas prices are rising higher and higher without any sign of slowing down, and warnings about the necessity of getting out and exercising are becoming more insistent. It comes as no surprise then, that people might want to ditch their long commutes in favor of taking a leisurely stroll to their destination and skipping a traffic-laden twice-daily trip.
Areas which are more walkable tend to demand higher rents and home prices so a city can benefit from creating a walkable city through higher real estate values, fewer health care costs, less smog, and a stronger economy.
Walk Score is a site that compiles data and ranks city in a number of areas, including those that are the most walkable. For each city, Walk Score analyzes hundreds of walking routes to nearby amenities, and points are awarded based on the distance to them. Amenities within a five minute walk (.25 miles) are given maximum points, and walks taking longer than 30 minutes are given no points whatsoever. Cities are also ranked by pedestrian friendliness - which considers factors like population density - and road metrics such as block length to determine the most walkable cities. A score of 90-100 is considered a “Walker's Paradise” where daily errands do not require a car. From there, a score of 70-89 is considered “Very Walkable” with the ability to complete most errands on foot. And as far as the top 10 goes, not a single city goes lower than the next level, “Somewhat Walkable”, with a score of 50-69, meaning some errands can be accomplished on foot, but not all or even most.
10 Baltimore - Walk Score: 66.2
9 Oakland - Walk Score: 68.9
8 Seattle - Walk Score: 70.8
7 Washington D.C. - Walk Score: 74.1
6 Chicago - Walk Score: 74.8
5 Miami - Walk Score: 75.6
4 Philadelphia - Walk Score : 76.5
3 Boston - Walk Score: 79.5
2 San Francisco - Walk Score: 83.9
1 New York City - Walk Score: 87.6
New York is not only the biggest city in the United States, it's also the most walkable too. On average, people in New York can walk to 13 different restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, all within 5 minutes. And several of its neighborhoods have perfect Walk Scores of 100, including Little Italy, Chinatown, NoHo, the Flatiron District, and SoHo, making the Big Apple one of the best cities to get around in. Not to mention, it's also a great city for transit and for biking, too. In New York, there really is very little need for a car to travel within the city.
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