walk-ability is key

Just over a week ago I wrote about the suffix “-ability” taking over my vocabulary (read: Dunkability).

And here we go again.

According to this 98 page survey dissecting where Americans want to live in the 21st century (no, not Mars), more than three quarters of us consider having sidewalks and places to take a walk a top priority. I hold this truth to be self-evident (after all I moved ten minutes down the road in order to drive less) and in the monthly community meetings for a school district master-planning project my architecture firm is coordinating, the term “walk-ability” weaves its way into conversation every five minutes. To further comment on the importance of connectivity, 6 in 10 people said they would sacrifice a bigger house (buh-bye McMansions) to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk.

This survey was initiated in 2011 by the National Association of Realtors who were in need of updating survey results on the same topic from 2004 (when the housing market was unquestionably more stable).

As GOOD.com so correctly puts it, “For once, our preferences align with our impending reality; in the future, we may not have a choice whether or not to downsize our lifestyles.

Regardless of our financial situation, living in walkable areas is just better for us. There have been numerous studies concluding that suburban and rural lifestyles are actually less healthy than cities, while New York City, the mother of all walking cities, enjoys a record-high life expectancy. Urban planners are already trying to figure out ways to design suburbs that necessitate less driving. Things that are good for us all too often require a bit of sacrifice. But in this case, our ideal and our fate are perfectly in line.”

Read more on GOOD.com.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Jim Bahn.

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