Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council sat down with Dan Burden, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to learn about what makes for a “walkable” neighborhood and what communities can do to become more walkable.
“A walkable neighborhood is a right-scale neighborhood where you can walk, you have good street connectivity…streets that are reasonably quiet and peaceful, that relate to the people living there, shopping there, and enjoying their neighborhood,” says Burden.
Walkablility increases a community’s staying power, mobility choices and neighborhood safety Burden explains. In addition to these benefits, demand for real estate in these neighborhoods is rising across the country. The National Association of Realtors’ 2011 Community Preference Survey found nearly 80% of Americans want pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with accessible sidewalks. Leaders are taking note and figuring out how to build such infrastructure affordably.
“If cities…take a 10 block area at a time and put it all to contract at once…we can get sidewalk construction down to a very low [cost] level,” says Burden. “It’s not a matter of convincing people. It’s a matter of preparing for what the market is already demanding.” Watch the video interview above to hear more.