Green Hotels Association
    October 2016  

Investing in
Walkable Neighborhoods!

According to (realtors), several American cities—some the usual progressive suspects, but others quite surprising—are making moves to build more homes in walkable neighborhoods. Others, however, are stuck in the past, building more of the distant suburbs.

Why do we need more walkable cities? Quite simply because walkable cities are, by definition, sustainable cities. Transportation remains a major source of greenhouse gas pollution, and, unlike electricity or agriculture, the United States remains firmly stuck on a fossil-fuel-dependent transport infrastructure. When we live in spread-out suburbs, far from work, shopping, schools and cultural centers, we have to drive. Often, we drive inefficient, single-occupancy vehicles, burning more fossil fuels, and creating more traffic.

In fact, the existence of more walkable neighborhoods (along with effective public transit) is likely the chief reason that Europe, Japan and South Korea, other developed, highly industrialized economies, have far lower per-capita greenhouse gas emissions than us in the US. Transforming our cities from car-centric to walkable, dense, green neighborhoods is one critical step to meet future climate goals. We all know that San Francisco, New York and Boston are walkable, due mostly to the fact that their urban centers were built and designed before the ubiquity of the automobile. But a recent report analyzed which cities are investing in walkable neighborhoods and had some pleasant surprises. For example, Cleveland, Seattle and Dallas were all ranked in the top 10, as each are building more homes in walkable neighborhoods than before. All three have very low average walk scores (between 45-59, as compared to 86 for San Francisco and 81 for Boston).

Source: Coca, Nithin,, Triple Pundit, August 22, 2016

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New York City is No. 1 with a Walkable City Score of 89. San Francisco is No. 2 with an 86, Boston is No. 3 at 81, and Philadelphia is No. 4 with a 78.




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