Urban planners have a new weapon they can use to fight for more walkable cities: a 10-year study from Australia that says designing pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods directly improves the health of the local community. It's common sense, but this is the largest major study giving concrete proof of how much of a difference good design can make for health.
Walking. It's a way of getting around that doesn't pollute, improves your health, saves you money, and, unlike driving, might even result in nice, spontaneous interactions with your neighbors.
In 2007, to promote walkable neighborhoods, Matt Lerner and Mike Mathieu, two former Microsoft employees, came up with Walk Score. Using a novel 100-point scale, the Walk Score website gives neighborhoods a walkability rating based on the nearby availability of grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and other important everyday needs. It allows renters, realtors, community activists, and curious citizens to compare how pedestrian-friendly a neighborhood is.
Forget pheromones or sports cars; walkability is the new aphrodisiac. Rockport shoes new campaign features two incredibly attractive 20-somethings walking the streets of New York, ultimately meeting up for a latte, attracted no doubt by each others' comfy shoes.