From USAToday, report of a new study… people who live in walkable communities enjoy greater social capital than their car-bound fellow citizens. Not too big of a surprise here… common sense. Also, we’ve seen Front Porch Forum lead to increased social capital and one typical outcome is that nearby neighbors talk more face-to-face once FPF catches on. It’s hard to connect with neighbors when you can’t easily see or talk to them.
People who live in walkable communities are more socially engaged and trusting than those who live in less walkable areas, says a new study from the University of New Hampshire.
The study buttresses other research that has linked a neighborhood’s walkability to its residents’ quality of life, notably improved physical and mental health.
The researchers scored 700 residents of three communities in New Hampshire on measures of “social capital” such as socializing with friends, civic engagement and trust in their community. They found those in neighborhoods with higher Walk Score ratings reported being happier and healthier and more apt to volunteer, work on community projects or simply entertain friends at home.
“In the age of increasing energy costs and climate considerations, the ability to walk to important locations is a key component of sustainable communities,” write Shannon Rogers and the co-authors of the study, published online in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.
If the residents of these walkable neighborhoods are homeowners, they benefit in yet another way, notes the Sierra Club’s Green Life blog. It cites a 2009 study by CEOs for Cities that founds homes with an above-average Walk Score sold for up to $34,000 more than their sidewalk-less counterparts.