Walkability is a term that is often used in urban planning in the present generation. More and more cities are making use of parks and other spaces including malls and apartment buildings to provide a space for people to walk. Walking in a city is a great way to exercise and also explore the city to get some fresh air. People also have more access to walkable neighborhoods these days compared to the industrial age for instance. Urban amenities such as pavements and footpaths are also important to make sure people can walk around the neighborhood.
Here are some tips to improve walkability in your city:
1. Provide good access to footpaths: When the urban areas are developed well then it is easier for people to walk around the city. Footpaths are one of the leading causes of walkability in an area and the growth in footfall. People naturally feel like walking when there are good urban amenities in a city. This might be expensive for governments to provide, but it will be very beneficial for all the citizens in the country. Most developed nations already have good footpaths in each area, making it easier for people to walk around the city and to neighboring districts.
2. Make the city accessible: One of the main ways to make the city accessible is by building more parks and having more public transport around the city. Public transport also gives people a reason to walk to each station and also explore their cities through a wider lens. Having schools and workplaces close to each area will also make people walk to their workplace rather than having to rely on transport. There are many ways in which a city can be made accessible and ways citizens can walk more if there are opportunities.
3. Have parks and plazas: Plazas are a great way to encourage people to walk around the space. Not many cities in the world have plazas but they give a great reason for people to walk and explore while also shopping and doing other basic necessities. As it is obvious, parks provide a great escape for people to play and get their daily exercise. These are important ways to encourage walking. Pedestrian centric design can also benefit in making cities more walkable and plazas mostly complement this idea.
4. Build malls and shopping areas close to neighborhoods: If there are malls close by then people will walk to the malls rather than rely on transport for their daily shopping needs. Malls also encourage walking as it is a big space and people have to walk in the malls. Having activities that people can participate in the malls or plazas will also encourage community well being. A study found that “having shops and gathering spots like schools and restaurants located within a quarter-mile to one-mile from the homes in your neighborhood can add from $4,000 to $34,000 to home values, according to Walking the Walk”
The above tips are great ways to initiate walking in your city. Many neighborhoods are already being made walkable for the befit of citizens and in America, many districts have followed this plan where the whole area is being made walkable so that people get more exercise and become more fit. Having a town center or CBD with a wide variety of shops and businesses can also drastically improve the walkable score of the city. More cities need to encourage walking and provide the facilities for people to walk in the city. Groups such as ‘Bangalore Walk’ in Bangalore, India are already encouraging people, particularly visitors, to walk to explore the city. Therefore, walkable neighborhoods are truly an asset to a good city.