A recent report published by CEOs for Cities finds, using Walk Score data and techniques, that walkable cities have higher land values than unwalkable cities. The study claims it illustrates “the value that homeowners attach to locations that enable them to easily access a variety of urban destinations by walking and other means.” The intrinsic advantage of city living is the variety of “consumption choices and experiences” easily available. A walkable neighborhood may also appear friendlier and safer, encouraging more people to live in that area.
The Walk Score index was developed by Front Seat to shed light on the urban characteristics that facilitate walkability. The Walk Score data has been integrated into several realty websites as a data point listed among real estate listings. Walk Score ratings are based on distance to a range of typical goods, services and activites.
Does higher housing prices directly mean a neighborhood is more livable? Maybe, however it’s clear housing prices reflect desirability and obviously a more livable neighborhood is going to be more desirable. Very few studies have focused on walkability factors compared to housing prices, making this one of the first to do so. This study notes an earlier one in Portland Oregon which found that areas built before WWII had appreciated in value more than areas built afterward, and that a significant difference is shift from a grid system of streets to the post-war cul-de-sac style. It’s well understood that streets laid out in grids produce neighborhoods with better walkability than neighborhoods laid out in the typical cul-de-sac pattern.
The study examined a over 93,000 housing transactions in 15 cities around the U.S. They generated Walk Scores for each property and after a lot of statistics analysis were able to demonstrate that in most cases walkable neighborhoods have higher housing values.
Earlier coverage: Walkability for green healthy transportation
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