In my day, I’ve lived in extremely walkable neighborhoods, moderately walkable neighborhoods, and in the middle of a bunch of freeways where there was seldom a sidewalk in sight. I look back on all those former homes and realize something – my favorite dwellings were also the most walkable. Neighborhoods through which I walked every day allowed me to meet my neighbors, develop a sense of community, explore urban gems like food trucks, festivals, free concerts, and get a hell of a lot more exercise than when I live in a driver oriented part of town.
According the lovely authorities over at Walk Score, those who live in walkable neighborhoods weigh 6-10 lbs less, feel more connected to their communities, and have a higher overall happiness level. Their transportation expenses are obviously far lower, and apparently, 1 Walk Score point yeilds $3,000 in home value.
This is just my personal experience, but the more walkable the area, the more you are compelled to actually get out and try new things. Lets compare two areas of Los Angeles, just for fun. When I lived in Studio City, everything was far apart, difficult to access, and I never once attended a Farmer’s Market or community event. It was an effort so I never really got around to it. Downtown LA is the most walkable neighborhood in Los Angeles, having a Walk Score of 92%. You rarely need a car. Nightlife is simple, seldom requiring the ever annoying and expensive cab. You can step out the impeccable Parisian style eatery Coco Laurent after some steak tartar, and walk a block to the retro speakeasy Seven Grand.
Coco Laurent’s Patio
Coco Laurent’s stunning Steak Tartar
Seven Grand is dripping with Old School charm and never disappoints. Try one of their delicious cocktails and check out their Live Jazz Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights starting at 10PM.
You can walk to the jewelry district and ogle some gems, which are extremely reasonable price wise, visit the array of new up and coming juiceries, boutiques, and specialty shops, and maybe even see a random parade, nude bike ride (that visual wasn’t as fun), or what have you. Around Christmastime there’s an outdoor skating rink in both Perishing Square and LA Live, and there always seems to be something happening. That isn’t to say Downtown LA is for everyone, but it’s vibrant, full of life, and there’s never a dull moment. At the end of the day, you also get some impressive mileage just by doing a few errands and checking out the local happenings. Plus, rush hour doesn’t wreck your good vibes on the way home.
My suggestion would be to always use Walk Score when looking at potential properties. It saves you quite a bit of time – I don’t waste my energy on looking at places with crappy scores anymore.
Those opting for a more simple, stress free, and engaging lifestyle should consider perhaps renting in a local area that can offer some entertainment without the baggage that comes from opening up the garage and searching for street parking. Even if it means I have to downsize, I’ll always opt for a more central location. My quality of life is worth far more than square footage.