I was reading a Marketwatch article, 15-minute tip: Walk more for a better score, about how the walkability of where you live influences your physical and financial health, and found the cool site Walk Score.
The benefits for your physical health are obvious, but how does walking improve your financial health? Well, for one thing, have you seen gas prices lately? But most pointedly, a walk score can inform where you live- adding value to certain neighborhoods and making others less attractive. It certainly is true in cities with enough public transportation that most don't own cars; when choosing a neighborhood to live in you want to know how many services are within walking distance. Walkability can also help you sell your home, decide on where to work, etc.
So head on over to Walk Score to see how your current/prospective neighborhood stacks up. You type in your address, and a google map calculates your score based on the walkability of certain services. My address is an 86 (out of 100), almost a walker's paradise (a score of 90-100), but not quite. I feel like mine is pretty damn close to walker's paradise, the farthest thing is a public park (0.69 mi) and if you knew my avenue on a Friday night you would think there were a little too many services. I checked my old address in the East Village, which is a 100.
It's a fun site, I wish it was around when I was single and searching for affordable apartments in crappy neighborhoods. It definitely would have been part of my research and would have saved me numerous subway rides out to the hinterlands.
- photo by Billy v via flickr