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WALKSCORE: Calculate Your Neighborhood's Walkability!
In the way of eco-minded transportation, it really doesn’t get much greener than your own two feet- ah yes, those two built-in vehicles that we all-too often forget these days. Aside from the lack of carbon output, walking is great exercise and allows you to be more engaged with your surrounding environment and community. In fact, “walkability” is a primary principle of good urban design, and a quality that can now be quantitatively measured using Walkscore, a website that calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. (My urban apartment scored a 91/100!)
Walkscore also does a great job in explaining the importance of walking and some of the principles of good walkable neighborhoods. They list benefits from better health and reduction in greenhouses to more qualitative things like increased social capital and stronger local businesses.
And they paint a lovely picture a walkable neighborhood: “You lose weight each time you walk to the grocery store. You stumble home from last call without waiting for a cab. You spend less money on your car—or you don’t own a car. When you shop, you support your local economy. You talk to your neighbors.”
I for one think walking is the way to go, especially if you live in a place with a score of 60 or above- why hop in a car when you’ve got everything you need within the extent of your own body?! And leave the iPod at home too- talk to your neighbors and take in all the sights, smells, and sounds your community has to offer. You might be pleasantly surprised.
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