Walk Score

by Jon Mandle on May 23, 2008

The first house that my wife and I bought was in a suburb immediately to the north of Albany, NY. It was a great 80-year-old house with a nice yard, and an easy drive to my work and to hers. But it was on a busy street, and with no sidewalks it was impossible to walk anywhere. When our daughter was almost 3, we moved into our current house in Albany. I sometimes joke that we moved for the sidewalks, but there’s a lot of truth to that. On the first morning we woke up in the new house, I clearly remember our daughter running out the door and down the block – something that she had never been able to do before. Being in a neighborhood with sidewalks and things to walk to – restaurants and bars, a library, post-office, bank, and supermarket within a few blocks – has made a big difference in our lives.

The contrast between these two locations is confirmed to some extent by Walk Score. Our old house was a lowly 23 while our current house gets a 68.

{ 57 comments }

1

Kieran 05.23.08 at 2:30 pm

I don’t think that measure is going to be very reliable.

2

harry b 05.23.08 at 2:32 pm

Ours is 78. I’d feel better about that if we weren’t merely 0.4 miles from the Resurrection Cemetery: if its walkable for us, I’m worried it might be walkable for them.

3

Steve Laniel 05.23.08 at 2:46 pm

I was excited when I found Walk Score a few months back and my place scored a 98 out of 100.

4

loren 05.23.08 at 2:50 pm

Great idea and good implementation, but there’s a formidable set of constraints that they themselves recognize in their data and algorithm (http://www.walkscore.com/how-it-doesnt-work.shtml). Tough to capture the lived experience of neighborhoods in a way that’s readily comparable. Still, very cool.

5

stuart 05.23.08 at 2:54 pm

Doesn’t seem to work for the town I live in – can’t pick up any addresses near me, and if i put in the postcode it places me around 3.5km away from the nearest supermarket (which is less than 50m from my front door). Works in the town I grew up in, though – our house got 11 which sounds about right although nothing to do with lack of sidewalks, but that we were in a part of the town with very few services, almost everything required walking to the town centre – although we did just that, I walked 40 minutes in to secondary school for 5 years for example.

6

Great Zamfir 05.23.08 at 2:57 pm

How should I picture a street without sidewalks? When you open your front door you step out directly on the street? Or did you have a front yard? Was there a row of parked cars beteen your place and the road?

I am trying to think of houses I know without a sidewalk, but all I can think of are rural areas, which I guess is not what you are talking about. How did people visit you by public transport?

7

engels 05.23.08 at 3:05 pm

Nice idea, but a quick check for some of the places I have lived recently suggests to me that these scores are all but meaningless…

8

engels 05.23.08 at 3:06 pm

(Only for me, of course: doubtless it works better for others.)

9

Martin James 05.23.08 at 3:25 pm

It seems like a better score for adults than for kids because the busy roads with lots of services count as a positive but crossing a busy intersection doesn’t seem to be a negative.

10

engels 05.23.08 at 3:28 pm

It is a pity that they don’t seem to give much information on the algorithm they are using, other than that it is “patent pending”…

11

matt 05.23.08 at 3:37 pm

By trying out places I’ve lived over the last several years I get scores that at least fairly well fit my subjective perception. Some worries, though, are that it can’t (and probably couldn’t, on any big scale) tell whether the places you can walk are desirable- it makes a big difference if the “book shop” is a Christian Science Reading Room or, say, Dove and Hudson books in Albany, or if the bar is the sleazy old man bar attached to a worse strip club near my parents’ house or somewhere you’d like to go. Also, the pleasantness of walking in different areas seems to be missed (and probably has to be)- so the fact that it’s really nice to walk in the MT. Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia and fairly boring to walk in the neighborhood in Boise Idaho where my parents live is not shown at all by their very similar scores. It does seem a reasonable tool over all, though.

12

BKN 05.23.08 at 4:05 pm

My neighbourhood gets an unjustifiably low score. Within a five-minute walk I can reach a movie theatre, two groceries, two drugstores, 2 bakeries, 2 shoe stores, at least a dozen bars and/or restaurants… Almost none of these places appear on their map, because most of these places are very mom & pop, neighbourhoody, non-chain establishments–the sorts of places that often have little or no online presence, and exactly the sorts of places that make a neighbourhood a good place to live.

Still, over the past decade a real estate boom in our city and gentrification of our neighbourhood have served to lower the “real” walkability score. We have lost two excellent, nationally-regarded independent bookstores, a paint & hardware store, and a locally-owned music store legendary among touring bands. These have been replaced by a plethora of shops, many of them chains, that sell either (a) overpriced, undersized clothes to teenage girls, or (b) overpriced decorative accent items (vases, cushions, napkin rings…). Oh, and a Starbucks. I suppose for some people the presence of a Starbucks within walking distance is a plus.

13

William Berry 05.23.08 at 4:17 pm

My place in Cape Girardeau is right next to a “Missouri Recreational Trail”, which runs for six miles from Shawnee Park on the southside, right through the middle of town, to the northside. The trail is suitable for biking, walking, jogging, has lots of access to streets (all with sidewalks) and all kinds of shops (coffee, desserts, wine, videos, music, etc.). Yet my score was only fifty-five. The program evidently didn’t pick up on the trail.

14

Matt Weiner 05.23.08 at 4:34 pm

There are some very weird classifications in the walk score. For instance, the map claims that there is a college on my block, which I think I would’ve noticed.

Zamfir, a lot of places in the US have no sidewalks. You have a front yard (and maybe your door opens onto your driveway). Either people visiting you by public transport walk in the street or on people’s lawns, or they don’t visit you by public transport. I don’t know if the direct link is going to work here, but check out Canton Ave. in satellite view here — before they put in a sidewalk on Boston Ave., I would have to go in the street or on lawns to get to the nearby supermarket. Then I moved to Vermont for the sidewalks.

15

Delicious Pundit 05.23.08 at 4:37 pm

I sometimes joke that we moved for the sidewalks, but there’s a lot of truth to that.

We did that. Our first place in LA was up in the hills, and it was beautiful, but stroller-unfriendly, not least because the only people who drive up there tend to be residents, so they take the blind curves at unnerving speeds. It’s a great boon to let the kids just go out and play with someone up the block, especially when you want to read the damn paper.

16

Tom Hurka 05.23.08 at 4:40 pm

My place gets 85, though they count a pet store called Kennel Cafe as a place to get coffee. (No big effect, there are other cafes within a block.)

Re #6, I grew up in a neighbourhood without sidewalks (27 score). It was a 1950s suburb — a classic 1950s suburb, and the absence of sidewalks was part of the aesthetic. You just walked on the street, and everyone did — to school, to church, to your friends’ houses. And the street plan made that feasible, with lots of crescents and cul de sacs to minimize car traffic on all but a few streets. We played games in the street, especially road hockey, with only the occasional shout of “Car!”

Like the new place, but liked the old as well.

17

Tom Hurka 05.23.08 at 4:47 pm

Following up:

Their identification of cafes and other things seems pretty mechanical, i.e. based largely on name, and therefore makes small mistakes.

Not only does Kennel Cafe (pet shop) get listed as a cafe in my neighbourhood, but Alternative Grounds (the local leftie cafe) doesn’t, presumably because it doesn’t have ‘cafe’ in its title and isn’t part of a chain.

18

engels 05.23.08 at 4:49 pm

Highly unscientific, but I note that central New York, San Francisco and Boston all get close to 100. Otoh London, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona all fail to rise above the 60s! Now it could be that US cities really are much more walkable than their European counterparts (I have never lived in New York or San Francisco for example and I’m sure they’re great places to live) but I am sceptical that there aren’t cultural biases at work (why do they consider a ‘grid like plan’ to be a sine qua non for a truly walkable neighbourhood??) Alternatively, maybe they just have richer data sets for the US and that is raising the scores.

19

Jacob T. Levy 05.23.08 at 4:52 pm

The algorithm appears to be as the crow flies and not take account of things like intervening interstate highways.

20

Tom Hurka 05.23.08 at 4:54 pm

More: local restaurants with ‘cafe’ in the name, e.g. Blue Bay Cafe and Cafe Polonez, get listed as coffee shops, not as restaurants.

Still, great idea in principle.

21

engels 05.23.08 at 4:54 pm

(Oh, and of course I should have said that looking at the centres may well not be representative.)

22

Donald A. Coffin 05.23.08 at 5:27 pm

The two places I lived in central Chicago scored 95 and 100, which seems right. The place I live right now, in a small city north of Indianapolis, scored 55. I think that’s an overestimate of its appeal as an urban place, partly because of a severe lack of sidewalks. Making walking anywhere a bit of a challenge. And, since the nearest grocery store (and drug store) is 3/4 mile away, walking to and from is, well, difficult, especially if one buys very much. But a nice toy.

23

engels 05.23.08 at 5:35 pm

These are the scores you get for the city centres (just typing the name of the city into the search box):

New York 100
San Francisco 98
Los Angeles 92
Chicago 98
Washington 95

London 64
Paris 68
Amsterdam 69
Barcelona 66
Brussels 58

24

Great Zamfir 05.23.08 at 6:21 pm

The algorithm works not so well for non-english speaking countries. For some of the categories in my hometown, the algorithm finds the closest place that advertises in English, and the ‘grocery store’ category shows only hotels in Amsterdam, 30 miles away.

25

DB 05.23.08 at 6:32 pm

We live in one of the older Philadelphia suburbs, where there are plenty of sidewalks and lots of pedestrian traffic. Some years ago, when we visited family in Fort Worth, Texas, my son, then 7 or so, looked around and said, “where are the sidewalks?”

26

timothy 05.23.08 at 6:35 pm

Matt (#11) is right. The “grocery store” that appears in my neighborhood was closed 2-3 years ago; before that, I think it mostly sold controlled substances. And while there is a liquor store and a bar/restaurant around the corner, they’re more “watch someone get shot” places than “do your shopping” places. So I’m not sure that any of them really contributes to the walkability of the neighborhood.

27

engels 05.23.08 at 6:36 pm

Looking at it more carefully, I see that they only claim to support places in the US, Canada and UK, so the scores for European cities I listed above don’t count.

However, there seems to me to be a similar discrepancy between the scores for ‘nice’ areas in London (70s) and those in New York (90s). (I can’t be bothered to list them now.)

28

Slocum 05.23.08 at 6:50 pm

We get 57 while Ann Arbor gets 91 overall. I guess that’s about right, though individual scores depends a lot on particular situations — given our situation, I’d say our own actual score is much higher. It’s greatly enhanced, for example, by my wife’s office being within walking distance and by a large park close by for dog exercise purposes. There are many bars, restaurants, libraries, and theaters within walking distance (but, more commonly, easy biking distance). No sidewalks directly in front of the house, but that doesn’t matter as the street has very little traffic. It’s pretty great, really, and I don’t think I’d want to move the amenities closer at the cost of moving the traffic and noise closer. No large grocery stores in walking distance, but that’s OK — we’re not interested in daily grocery shopping or trying to schlep a week’s groceries back on foot.

29

Dan Simon 05.23.08 at 8:05 pm

More: local restaurants with ‘cafe’ in the name, e.g. Blue Bay Cafe and Cafe Polonez, get listed as coffee shops, not as restaurants.

You should get extra points for being within walking distance of Mauritian food…

30

rvman 05.23.08 at 8:16 pm

Hmph, the nearest ‘bar’ to one old home of mine is an “Orange Julius”. BYOB screwdrivers, I guess. My current place rates an 15, despite having a Wal-Mart across the street. I suppose having an address with “Interstate” in the street name does limit walkability.

One of my old ones was an 8, but that was rural – our landlord owned longhorns, buffalo, and ran a horse stable and wild west show.

31

Dan Simon 05.23.08 at 8:25 pm

One more thought: it seems to me that “walk score” is a measure of location convenience that significantly affects house price/rent (it certainly seems to in my area, at least). Likewise for floor area, lot size, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, school district quality, and so on. And in choosing where to live within their budgets, people must make difficult, rather personal (or familial) tradeoffs among these different home features. For instance, our family traded off space for location convenience, and therefore have a somewhat smaller home than we might otherwise have found, but with a great “walk score”. Am I sure that was the right decision? Depends on what happens on a given day, I guess…

Now, I wouldn’t expect a comment thread on Crooked Timber to consist mostly of people comparing the square footage or construction quality of their homes. And yet here we are, avidly comparing our “walk scores” as though they were something other than an expensive feature that some can afford, others sacrifice dearly for, and still others find beyond their reach. What makes this particular luxury more virtuous–even when bragged about–than any other?

32

theo 05.23.08 at 9:21 pm

What makes this particular luxury more virtuous—even when bragged about—than any other?

Because walkabililty’s a positive externality. Which is shared with our neighbors, and future neighbors, so long as we’re not incredibly NIMBYish about restricting development?

Square footage is overall a negative externality, because it forces lot sizes to be larger, making everything less convenient for everyone. It also increases energy usage and pollution, etc.

Construction quality is more or less neutral. There’s nothing shameful about supporting good craftsmanship.

33

Tom Hurka 05.23.08 at 9:29 pm

#29-30

Dan:

Agree about extra points for Mauritian food. Not so sure about Polish, though.

And one reason to talk about this is just that it’s a new measure, or attempt at a new measure, of something not before quantified. Square feet we all know how to compare — liveability of neighbourhoods we didn’t, at least until now.

And there’s just the fun of seeing what the new measure’s accuracies/inaccuracies are.

34

roac 05.23.08 at 9:38 pm

The closest grocery store to my house, as fed into the algorithm, is a hole-in-the-wall Ethiopian place (I do buy bulk spices there from time to time). So is the next closest, for that matter.

The closest SCHOOL — here’s a laugh — is a storefront that H&R Block uses in season to train tax preparers.

I have no problem with the concept, but the implementation is pretty crude.

35

engels 05.23.08 at 10:39 pm

I think the concept would make more sense if they made their formula public. Publishing an index like this and not clueing everybody else in on your magic recipe sucks somewhat, in my opinion.

36

Beth from Avenue Z 05.23.08 at 11:29 pm

I just walked back from my grocery store moments before I discovered your blog and the Walk Score site. I chose this neighborhood in San Diego because of its proximity to a coffee shop, and I love the fact that the whole area is imminently walkable. I can get to Balboa park in a 15-minute jog.

Cool site. Thanks for sharing.

37

engels 05.23.08 at 11:39 pm

Still, I don’t think it’s that bad but it does seem a bit like the kind of thing that ought to get an entry in Stuff White People Like

38

sara 05.23.08 at 11:48 pm

It would do better as a wiki (people enter their local businesses), which would be self-correcting; the local businesses are 50% wrong for my address. I see they are lifted automatically from Google Maps.

39

Matt 05.23.08 at 11:59 pm

_yet here we are, avidly comparing our “walk scores” as though they were something other than an expensive feature that some can afford, others sacrifice dearly for, and still others find beyond their reach._

That’s not necessarily true, though. In Philadelphia, for example, my old West Philly address gets quite a high score (in the ’90s) while the much fancier Mt. Airy neighborhood gets a (too low, to my mind) 68 or so. But West Philly is filled w/ working-class families, grad students, and young hippsters who can’t live in Center City while Mt. Airy is mostly professional. Certainly rents and house prices there are more expensive. So, “walk score”, while perhaps an expensive thing in some ways, isn’t necessarily something one must pay more for.

40

vivian 05.24.08 at 1:04 am

It seems on a small nonrandom sample to reward closeness to public transportation, a lot (<.25 mile = 13 points). It also matches my intuition about “interesting and useful stuff nearby.” And they won’t have a lot to work with to decide which bar is creepy, or which shop is snarkily named. And depending on which it counts as the city center in Paris, it might actually pick an area that’s great to walk as a tourist, but not somewhere to shop for food, haircuts, etc. What happens when you try specific addresses outside the US?

41

Dan S. 05.24.08 at 4:08 am

Matt –

another Mt. Airy person here, and Walk Score says my house only scores a 48, which seems oddly low, even given that several retail categories don’t show up ’til > .5 mile (and that my idea of walkability is somewhat nonstandard – ie, when I was living in Poughkeepsie, I considered the 3 miles roundtrip to/from the nice organic-y supermarket a brisk little walk). It also believes that the nearest school is the Mount Airy Learning Tree building (the local adult-education place) – technically true, but . . .. I think one thing it misses is that one can walk a block to the r8, sit for a few minutes, and get off in the middle of the (rather precious) Chestnut Hill shopping district (which only gets a 89, at least from where I used to live (it’s insisting that a previously unknown “provider of archival audio services” is the nearest library there , as opposed to the actual Free Library branch two blocks away, and imagines the cheese shop is a coffee shop (well, it does sell coffee beans & such).

Running my old neighborhood through it, though, got me to the google map review of the local C-Town supermarket, with the marvelous remark that “Our C-Town is clean, unlike some others . . . ” And it was, too. More or less. If you didn’t look too close . . .

42

Simstim 05.24.08 at 8:16 am

Adding to the criticism, it seems to ignore the “next best thing” of living within walking distance of a town centre where all the shops and facilities are clustered. Thus, today in my suburb of London I shall be walking into the local centre (just over a kilometre away) to pick up a new pair of glasses from the opticians. While I’m there I’ll pick up some grocery shopping from one of the two supermarkets and will call in at the bookshop on the way back to buy an OS map. Walkscore would consider each of these places to be 1km away, but my distance for visiting all three will be considerably less than 3km.

43

Z 05.24.08 at 8:30 am

What happens when you try specific addresses outside the US?

The result is laughable. Walkscore, or Google map or whatever input they are using, knows only about a third of what’s around my home. But it’s okay, they are doing their best. In my experience, the places I lived in in France and Germany tended to be pretty walkable, not so much in Tokyo but the rest of Japan (that I have seen) was okay.

44

harry b 05.24.08 at 12:06 pm

dan simon — I’d second what theo said. But also: unlike, say, proximity to natural lakeshores, the scarcity of walkability is entirely a socially constructed artifice. Zoning boards and city planners decide what our neighbourhoods look like, and those decisions have very long-term consequences (because housing stock lasts a long time). If walkability is a luxury (which I agree it is) that’s because many people who would like to have it can’t afford it. For once, that is not because they should have more money; instead it’s because its supply has been artificially restricted by short-sighted, or often corrupted, government officials. Some cities, including my own, have introduced inclusionary zoning ordinances precisely in order to redistribute access to this luxury.

45

engels 05.24.08 at 2:13 pm

Simplfying massively (and I don’t have any figures) but isn’t it true that in the last several decades we have seen a very large re-distribution of “walkability” away from the disadvantaged towards the affluent, as inner city areas have become gentrified and poorer residents have been forced to live further away from work and amenities?

The elevation of “walkability” from a more-or-less humdrum aspect of urban life for ordinary people to a fetish item for affluent vaguely leftish types–a tendency which this site appears to consciously contribute to–was surely key in bringing this regressive re-distribution about…

46

engels 05.24.08 at 2:22 pm

TO make the same point more briefly; I’m all for re-distributing stuff in an egalitarian direction. But the aim of this site appears to be to (further) raise the profile of “walkability” among a certain demographic: the house-buying, blog-reading latte-rati. I’m sceptical of social benefits of that…

47

Matt 05.24.08 at 2:36 pm

Engels- here’s an optimistic story we might tell. I’m not sure I believe it but it’s not obviously false to me, either. We might think that this sort of thing (not this particular thing, especially not by itself, of course) will have social benefits in that it will encourage people who have social influence to seek more of this good. If it’s demanded it will be produced, if it’s demanded by people who have social influence. The poor have little social influence so even if the want this they are unlikely to get it. But, if it is demanded by people who once demanded big lots, no side-walks, lots of driving, etc. then it will be provided while the bad stuff won’t be as provided. But, at least some of this will go to people who are poorer, too. Mixed use neighborhoods are often mixed income ones as well (though of course they are not always such.) So, be encouraging people who have influence to seek this good thing some of the good will likely go to others who would not have gotten it in any other way.

Like I say at the start, this is probably too optimistic. But it seems that you’re remark is pretty clearly too cynical, too.

48

Righteous Bubba 05.24.08 at 4:36 pm

But the aim of this site appears to be to (further) raise the profile of “walkability” among a certain demographic: the house-buying, blog-reading latte-rati.

The profile of walkability is enhanced when you don’t have a car.

49

sara 05.24.08 at 11:57 pm

A feature of “walkability” not taken into account is the width of the streets. Streets laid out in recently developed areas (last 30 years; in my area, exurbs) were designed for the convenience of cars, not pedestrians: extra wide, with extra merging space at entries and intersections, which intimidates pedestrians, especially if the pedestrians are at all slow. The huge streets encourage drivers to drive faster.

The crossing lights do not last long enough, and I’ve even heard the rumor that the buttons to call for crossing lights are not connected to the lights (like the “close door” buttons in elevators).

I would rather not cross one of these exurban roads, feeling like Tyrone Slothrop (the character in Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow) when he blindly runs across a German Autobahn.

50

sara 05.25.08 at 12:00 am

I’ve also observed that the people who live in these exurbs, even if they do not use cars but take public transportation, prefer to wait for the bus rather than walk even a block or two. I don’t think this can be attributed to “laziness.” They rightly perceive space inimical to pedestrians.

51

Roy Belmont 05.25.08 at 7:14 am

#49
One extends the understanding that you’re not so leery of exactly feeling like Tyrone Slothrop as fording the Autobahn in not much more than new shoes.
A daunting prospect for me as well today, and yet in 1965 it wasn’t unthinkable to prove yourself by that, say if you weren’t German across the Nimitz nee 17 south of Berkeley where it went to the Bay Bridge merge and was something like 8 lanes wide or maybe 101 north of Redwood City crossing the Bayshore at a dead run with big burly specimens of mid-60′s Detroit steel barreling toward you a little or often more than a little over their center of gravity inertia momentum sudden stop and swerve integration capability.
Rather than not wanting to feel like Tyrone Slothrop himself per se, who in his role as Everyman may not be, ultimately, condemnable for anything other than simply being.

52

Dan Simon 05.25.08 at 7:27 am

I don’t understand the “negative externality” argument at all. In the cities I’m familiar with, neighborhoods with a high “walk score” are considerably denser than those with a low “walk score”, with smaller, more expensive (for their size) homes. That is, concentrations of convenient businesses and facilities raise the value of surrounding homes, encouraging developers to build more, smaller ones to maximize their profits.

While some low-density neighborhoods no doubt use zoning laws to keep themselves the way they are, I see no evidence of a lack of willingness on the part of city planners to work around them to create high-density urban areas with lots of high-tax-revenue businesses. If there’s a limit to this process, it’s presumably the number of businesses and facilities that a given urban area can afford to support.

In short, the market seems to have no trouble catering to the public’s preferred tradeoffs between walkability and other desirable features. The vast expanses of unwalkable suburbia in most cities appear to me to be a product of people’s willingness to sacrifice walkability for other features, such as space, quiet and seclusion, rather than of zoning constraints, and I don’t see how they interfere with anyone else’s desire for a more walkable environment.

Harry or Theo, do you have any reason to believe that there’s a reserve of pent-up demand for more walkable housing that’s not being met by the market?

53

Great Zamfir 05.25.08 at 9:44 am

Dan Simon, I am not entirely convinced by the negative externality thing either, but I can make a guess:

Neg Ext 1: Car use. Cars produce CO2 and smog, and dependency on nasty oil states, and these are perhaps not fully incorporated in the price.

Neg Ext2: Roads, parking lots etc. These are ugly, and that’s a definite negative externality. People do not pay for them on an individual basis, so they might by over-abundant. Lastly they take up valuable space, but that might be priced-in in house prices.

Neg ext 3: car dependency leads to social separation, and that might be bad. It seems this is the point people are worried about most. Of course, if ‘walkable’ regions become 100% yuppified or Crookified, separation is back again, but at current levels a movements of middle-class people to walkable regions might increase mixing.

Am I missing an ‘externality’?

54

Dan Simon 05.25.08 at 5:38 pm

Zamfir–well, if this thread is actually about environmentalism, then I won’t comment further. But Jon’s original post certainly didn’t suggest that a green lifestyle was the whole point of walkability. As for suburban-style roads and parking lots, I don’t see how they adversely affect the people who choose to avoid them by living in walkable neighborhoods. Such neighborhoods almost always lack that sort of thing, because the land is too expensive to waste on them.

Finally, regarding social separation, I gather that what you’re getting at is that gentrification of poorer neighborhoods is a major driver of social mixing. I agree, but I’m not convinced that the correlation between poorer neighborhoods and walkability is particularly strong. For one thing, poorer communities are often denuded of the kinds of amenities that make communities walkable–to say nothing of the effects of urban crime on walkability. And conversely, plenty of brand new, highly walkable “new urbanist” neighborhoods are springing up, geared towards thoroughly unmixed middle-class inhabitants.

Again, though, Jon’s posting didn’t discuss any of these alleged externalities. His posting was basically of the form, “see how easy it is to walk to stuff from my home–here’s a Website that’ll tell you how your home compares with other people’s by that criterion.” To me, that’s just a bobo version of, “see how spacious my home is–here’s a Website that’ll tell you how your home compares with other people’s by that criterion.”

55

reason 05.27.08 at 7:08 am

do you have any reason to believe that there’s a reserve of pent-up demand for more walkable housing that’s not being met by the market?

The high price of land in these neighbourhoods?

56

reason 05.27.08 at 7:22 am

#43
I live in Germany and in confused Park with parking lot, didn’t know about the public library in the center of town (3 blocks from where I live) etc.

57

michael e sullivan 05.27.08 at 9:33 pm

oddly, given the commentary here, when I compared my own last few locations, my suburban location near the center of the town got a better walk score than my current home, right in the center of an old village part of a small city.

I think my current place is more walkable by my own standards, due to factors discussed in 11. lots of places to go in my old neighborhood that I didn’t really want to go to, but others might.

Also, I think my suburban location was getting some points for being on a bus line that is largely useless except for commuting to the nearest downtowns, while the buses in my current location take me pretty much anywhere I’d want to go in new haven. Also, the grocery store was somewhat closer in my suburban neighborhood, but still too far to actually walk with a couple bags of groceries, yet only 1 minute closer by car.

But in any case, here’s an example where the suburbs don’t necessarily do worse.

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