“Each of us has a responsibility to be better stewards of the planet. Today, we must not only conserve what we have but reverse the damage done to the environment. Good design is part of the solution.” — P. Allen Smith
I am proud to be involved with conservation developments around the country that respect the earth, improve our health, and are beautiful to live, work, and thrive within. These communities are for all age groups, economic levels, and backgrounds. I was cheered to come upon a recent article that highlights one aspect of my design values that I incorporate into each of these projects. The article nicely articulates why our communities should be walkable rather than car-focused. It’s a no brainer on many levels, but worth discussion, and I wanted to share this with you.
Montava 50 Reasons To Build Walkable Communities reviews several of the top benefits of well-designed, walkable communities. And while my communities include additional features that more closely link our homes and families to the earth, walkability within our communities is very important to me and one of my primary goals at the beginning of my design process.
Here is one such example that sadly many of us–including myself–can identify. It involves commuting. It has been found that if one shifts from a long commute to a walk, one’s happiness increases as much as if falling in love. Wow! Further “the benefits of walkability are all interconnected,” according to James Francisco, who is quoted in the article. He elaborates, “maybe you want your local business to be enhanced by more foot traffic…[n]ot only do you get the economic vitality, but you get the social benefits–so people are out and having conversations and connecting–and then you get the health benefits.”
The number one reason for building walkable communities is reason enough for us to focus on this component in our community designs:
It helps people live longer.
The article presents compelling statistics to support this claim. Consider: inactivity is the fourth leading cause of mortality around the world; physical activity dropped 32% in the last four decades in the U.S., and 45% in less than two decades in China. For people over 60, walking just 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of dying by 22%.
The report sifted through dozens of studies to quantify 50 benefits of walkability in cities. To read more and learn about the 49 other benefits see: Build Walkable Communities.