“As a photographer you’re in a special place taking pictures, and now you can share that with others”
Photographer John Butterill discovered a way to share his photo walks through Google+ Hangouts. Almost immediately photographers around the world began volunteering to share their view of the world with people whose mobility was limited.
Can you walk to stores, schools and a park from your home? If so, your house or condo may be worth substantially more than those in more isolated, pedestrian-hostile neighborhoods.
That’s the finding of “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities,” a study by Joseph Cortright that analyzed data from 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 major markets provided by ZipRealty and found that in 13 of the 15 markets, higher levels of walkability, as measured by Walk Score, were directly linked to higher home value.
The report found, in short, that walkability is more than just a pleasant amenity. Homes located in more walkable neighborhoods—those with a mix of common daily shopping and social destinations within a short distance—command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas. Houses with the above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability in the typical metropolitan areas studied.
The rest of Los Angeles may seem as congested as ever, but traffic at UCLA is the lightest it’s ever been since the university began measuring more than 20 years ago.
The 2011 commuting report marks the eighth consecutive year that UCLA’s vehicle count dropped. With an average of 102,000 trips daily, the number of vehicle trips into and out of UCLA in 2011 was more than 3 percent lower than in 2010 and almost 20 percent lower than the campus’s peak in 2003.
“Vehicle counts are lower now than they were in 1990, when the cordon count first began,” according to UCLA Transportation’s newly released State of the Commute annual report.
UCLA Transportation offers incentives to encourage UCLA’s approximately 41,000 students and 26,000 employees to use alternative transportation, including a 50 percent subsidy for transit passes, discounted parking for carpoolers and a partially subsidized vanpool. The department also offers a variety of other benefits through the Bruin Commuter Club, which is open to all alternative-mode commuters, from bikers and walkers to bus-riders and carpoolers.
UCLA is approaching its goal of convincing half of its employees to switch to alternative transit, and only 52.9 percent currently drive to work alone, compared with nearly 72 percent of Los Angeles County drivers. Only 25 percent of students drive alone.
The map above shows Toronto’s walkability, with the lighter portions indicating greater walkability (‘utilitarian walkability” being how easy it is to walk to do utilitarian things — get to work, shop — as opposed to for pure recreation).
It’s striking how much high walkability follows the boundaries of the old City of Toronto. There are a couple of additional areas of high walkability in two of the areas designated by the official plan as “centres”, in North York and Etobicoke, which reinforces the finding of a recent study that the “centres” concept is working to some extent.
“People who live in highly walkable areas walk more and are less likely to be in danger of obesity than those in car-oriented areas.”
“There is a strong latent demand among Toronto residents for more walkable features in their neighbourhoods.”
The report finds that even people who are car-oriented will walk more if they live in a walkable neighbourhood — and people who are walking-oriented will walk less if they live in a car-oriented neighbourhood. So urban design does play a role in shaping people’s behaviours, whatever their preferences are.