To quote a WebMD article about the study:
Neighborhoods built before 1950 tended to have sidewalks and other characteristics that made them more accessible to pedestrians, including being more densely populated and having restaurants and other businesses nearby, lead researcher Ken R. Smith, PhD, tells WebMD. In general, newer neighborhoods offered fewer opportunities for walking.
How walkable is your neighborhood? Find out by entering your address at http://www.walkscore.com/. You’ll get your score as well as a list of destinations within a half-mile radius. Impressively, my neighborhood (Beverly Hills Adjacent) scored 89 out of 100. A “walker’s paradise” is 90 or higher.
While people may be surprised to hear this about LA, which is not known for walking, I am pleased to report that I hoof it to the following places: the dry cleaners, the mini-market, the pharmacy, the bank, the bookstore, the hair salon, the doctor, the nail salon and a number of cafes/restaurants. As a result, I do about 60% of my errands a pied. It’s good for the planet, it’s good for the body – and it’s a lifestyle I hope to continue when I relocate.
Applying this principle to a small town, however, could be a challenge. I see I would probably need to live downtown or in an older neighborhood. To have walkability, you need to be in the heart of things. Yet another factor to add to the list!