In this post I will talk about walkability. I believe it’s an interesting perspective on everyone’s day-to-day operations. Today Americans measure distance in time, not miles. When one looks up how far the location of a restaurant is they are not interested in the amount of miles. They want to know the number of minutes.
The closer a person lives to their day-to-day activities the less time they need to spend traveling to and from them. They save time on travel and they have more time to spend on leisure with their friends and family. Basically, if you can walk somewhere conveniently, then that place is considered to be “walkable.” Also, the amount of money and carbon emissions one can save by not owning a car is astonishing after one does the math. If a location is accessible by public transportation then it’s degree of “walkablility” is higher than a location that is only accessible by car.
I am currently reading “Reshaping Metropolitan America” by Arthur Nelson. In his work Nelson examines demographic changes over the past century and touches on opportunities for the future. It’s a great read, and here is the bottom line. Walkability is the future.
There are enough detached single-family homes on the market today to fill our need for them until 2030. During the twentieth century the baby boomer generation built tons of McMansions on huge lots with many bedrooms. Now their kids are old enough to move out, and they want to live in cities. People are willing to accept higher rent prices for smaller units in buildings with amenities like gyms, grocery stores, swimming pools, and places to entertain. This is because they can spend less time traveling, and more time doing the things they want to do.
Furthermore, the value of the average American’s home equity fell from $200,000 in 2006 to less than $78,000 in 2008. It is extremely unlikely that the equity values will ever return to those levels because the market simply demands a different type of housing.
On it’s most basic level I believe walkability needs to be taken into consideration by all young undergrads looking for their first job after graduation. It’s simple. To cut down on your throughput time you should simply move closer to work.