Walkability = Happiness – And why Does this Matter to Charlottesville Real Estate?

Science is cool.

On the whole, the more walkable neighborhoods scored higher on every measure of social capital than the less walkable neighborhoods. The authors found that individuals in more walkable neighborhoods tended to have higher levels of trust and community involvement, whether that was working on a community project, attending a club meeting, volunteering, or simply entertaining friends at home. Residents in the more walkable neighborhoods also reported being in good health and happy more often than those in the less walkable neighborhoods.

The authors conclude: “Walkability has been linked to quality of life in other studies. Walkability may also enhance social capital by providing the means and locations for individuals to connect, share information, and interact with those that they might not otherwise meet. The links we found between walkability and measures of social capital in this study provide further evidence for the consideration of social capital as a key component of quality of life.”

Essentially, walking is good. It’s been demonstrated that walkability = affordability = profitability = livability; now walking = happiness.

A challenge with discussing “walking distance” is that “walking distance” is different for different people. Painting with a broad brush – walking for many of my American-born buyer clients is less than a half mile; walking distance for many of my international buyer clients is less than two miles. While the City of Charlottesville is considered fairly walkable, everything is about perspective.

Why does this matter? Simple:

– We need more and better multi-modal infrastructure.

– We need better connectivity between the regional partners.

– Many buyers want walkable homes.

– Many sellers wish they could walk to and from home.

H/T @JessicaChapin

Because this here is a Charlottesville real estate blog, I might as well include a few links to search for homes with high WalkScores:

Walkable homes in Charlottesville and Albemarle
Most walkable homes for sale in the City of Charlottesville
Walkable homes in Crozet

And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out my current two favorite walkable homes on the market right now. One in Crozet and one in Charlottesville:

[idx-listing mlsnumber=”481561″ showschools=”true” showlocation=”true”]


[idx-listing mlsnumber=”482026″ showschools=”true” showlocation=”true”]

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  1. Drew Meyers December 8, 2010 at 21:48

    “We need more and better multi-modal infrastructure.”

    Have you been to Seattle? This couldn’t be more true. Seattle transit infrastructure sucks.

    I’m a huge fan of walkable homes as well. I’m likely moving to southern cal for awhile, but I’m certainly not really looking forward to driving everywhere again.

    1. Jim Duncan December 10, 2010 at 08:28

      I’d love to visit Seattle. I hear Zillow’s hiring. 🙂

      If I had my choice, I’d never get in my car to show houses. Lamentably, that day will likely never come. But I do walk my little one to school quite a bit and occasionally jump on the bicycle to show houses in Crozet and Charlottesville, so I can attest to the fact that I definitely feel happier when I don’t have to drive.

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