walker’s paradise: city vs suburban

When I lived in the city, my Walk Score was 92. Definitely a Walker’s Paradise (their definition), except that I lived at the top of a very steep hill. (So when I was hobbling around on crutches with a broken ankle, there was no way it was even walkable, much less a paradise.)

Now I live in the suburbs, and my Walk Score is… 97! Even more of a Walker’s Paradise. Especially because it’s flat. (Which means it’s also a biker’s paradise.)

There’s no question both locations are superb for walking. And my current suburban location IS more convenient, even if I were to flatten that San Francisco hill.

However, the Walk Score does not measure something that I’m interested in, which is walking A LOT. And if I were able to choose that parameter, it’s likely that an urban address will score higher than a suburban address.

Why? Within a half mile south of my suburban home, the density of stores, restaurants, library, post office, doctors, dentists… is very high. But then it’s another 1.5 miles before another business area. In between, there are lovely residential streets, but hardly any other people walking or around at all. On the other hand, in the kind of dense urban center where I used to live, there are stores and cafes and people all along a 1.5 mile walk.

Of course, it all depends on what you like when it comes to walking. I like people-watching, so if I had to create a walkscore, mine would include a measure of how far the walkability extends.

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