Walkability: Measuring Urban Quality of Life

As a service to our clients, we’ve been adding a terrific tool called Walkscore to all our rental listings, for both the unfurnished suites at Downtown Suites, and also the furnished suites at Downtown Accommodations. When you check any of our listings, you’ll not only find a google map of the area, there is also a separate Walkscore map, rating the walkability at the location.

Because of our central downtown locations, our suites mostly rank in the  90–100 range, called  Walkers’ Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car. A few are in the  70–89 range, or  Very Walkable: It’s possible to get by without owning a car.

And why does walking matter? the folks at Walkscore put it this way:

Why Walking Matters

Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to our health, the environment, and our communities.

Better health: A study in Washington State found that the average resident of a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood weighs 7 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood.1 Residents of walkable neighborhoods drive less and suffer fewer car accidents, a leading cause of death between the ages of 15–45.

Reduction in greenhouse gas: Cars are a leading cause of global warming. Your feet are zero-pollution transportation machines.

More transportation options: Compact neighborhoods tend to have higher population density, which leads to more public transportation options and bicycle infrastructure. Not only is taking the bus cheaper than driving, but riding a bus is ten times safer than driving a car!

Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for every 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10%.3

Stronger local businesses: Dense, walkable neighborhoods provide local businesses with the foot traffic they need to thrive. It’s easier for pedestrians to shop at many stores on one trip, since they don’t need to drive between destinations.

Vancouver is a beautiful, very walkable city. But the Walkscore isn’t about the seawall, beaches, mountain views, architecture or parks – the places to go and the things to see. It’s about getting around in daily life – going to work, buying groceries, finding a hardware store.

We always support green initiatives, and walking is definitely the simplest and most direct!