Walkable communities have been a big theme of discussion in the Shaping our Towns & Cities project. The ability for people to walk to the services and resources that they need or want in their daily lives has been discussed as a basic quality of life indicator. It has also been discussed as a way to encourage more social interactions, enhancing the sense of community. Never mind, of course, the public health benefit from all that walking. In terms of fostering community, it’s nice to see this study on Walkable Neighborhoods from the University of New Hampshire.
“We found that neighborhoods that are more walkable had higher levels of social capital such as trust among neighbors and participation in community events,” says Shannon Rogers, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate in UNH’s Natural Resources and Earth System Science (NRESS) program. She adds that those who have higher levels of positive social capital have been shown to have a higher quality of life through better health and economic opportunities, among other things.”