Health win! 'Walkable' cities are the future of development


People walking in city

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Forget flying cars; the next wave of the future may not seem so high-tech … but it will be good for the environment and our health.

According to findings in the “Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros” — a report by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business — walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide.

Why should that matter to you?

This blend of urban and suburban living will mean being able to get from Point A to Point B, and having all your daily needs met, without a car. This means a healthier lifestyle and fuller wallet (since cars are expensive).

Cities of the future

They are called walkable urban places, or WalkUPs, and are defined as being more dense than a suburb but more sprawling than a city. It has a mix of transportation options, such as bus and rail, bike routes and motor vehicles and, most importantly, where everyday destinations — such as home, work, school, stores and restaurants — are within walking distance.

The metro areas that ranked the highest in walkability are:

1. Washington, D.C.
2. New York
3. Boston
4. San Francisco
5. Chicago
6. Seattle

These six areas, especially Washington, D.C., will serve as the national model on which to base other developments.

The cities with moderate walkability are:

7. Portland
8. Atlanta
9. Pittsburgh
10. Cleveland
11. Baltimore
12. Minneapolis
13. Philadelphia
14. Denver

The report said that Miami, Detroit (which are ranked as having low walkable urbanism) and Atlanta are positioned for WalkUP growth in the future because of their initiatives.