Walkable Cities, Walkable Neighborhoods

December 6, 2010
New neighborhood-level data from the walkability rating website Walk Score has broadened the view of what it means to live in a walkable city. This comparison of neighborhood-level data across the U.S. offers a more specific look at which cities are really the most walkable.

Over the past few years, the website Walk Score has gained a lot of popularity amongst urban planners, developers and, maybe most especially, real estate agents. It's a mapping tool that quantifies the walkability of street addresses with a simple 0-100 score, based on proximity to a variety of amenities. It's an easy way to find a new place to live, or to navel-gaze and see just how well your address measures up.

It's also a good way to compare places. In 2008, the site released citywide Walk Scores for 40 cities, aggregating scores from addresses throughout cities to give average scores across entire urban areas. "Top 10" lists inevitably ensued. As with many of these sorts of lists, the value is mainly in the novelty, but these figures do well to illustrate how cities differ on a macro scale.

Enter the micro scale.