How to Find the Best Walkable Neighborhood

Many of us are now realizing how sedentary our lifestyles are. Because of the problems of urban sprawl, we literally live miles away from almost everything and have to drive somewhere in order to get the things that we need on a daily basis.

But, what if you could find a neighborhood where you could park the car and forget about it for days at a time as you walk around to do your shopping and dining? That’s the mentality behind the recent move to smaller, more self-contained neighborhoods.

Here are some ways to find the best walkable neighborhoods in your area:

Main Components—First, there are a few main components that you need to look for when it comes to a walkable neighborhood. You want to find a place that has a centralized location that everything else is built around, such as a town square or a main thoroughfare or street. You should also look for a neighborhood with a relatively dense population. Businesses and restaurants will not be able to survive without a lot of traffic, so you will need people who live in the immediate area. Besides businesses, you should also look for other types of active spaces such as parks and public space which will attract people to gather.

Look at the Layout—Another thing that makes a neighborhood more walkable is going to be the geographic layout of the neighborhood. It should, first, be relatively compact. If you are talking about ten to twenty miles of walking, then this isn’t going to be practical. Also, it should be relatively flat. A few hills are fine, but if you have to climb three miles uphill both ways then it gets to be a bit much. The area should also be laid out with walking paths and sidewalks. But it should also have benches and other amenities that will help when you need to take a break from your travels. And, most importantly, these features should be well maintained.

Businesses—The third component is the idea that you can get what you need in the neighborhood. Is there, for instance, a grocery store or specialty food shops like a bakery or butcher shop? You will probably be buying groceries every couple of days instead of stocking up all at once like you are used to. Are there restaurants nearby that you want to frequent? What about other things like clothing boutiques, bookstores, and the like? All of these will help add to the walkability of your neighborhood and if it is going to be a good fit for you.

Ultimately, the best way to find a walkable neighborhood in your area is to simply get out and explore. By doing this, you can take the neighborhood for a “test walk” and see if it might be an area that you could consider relocating to.


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