Walkable cities are good for us

13th Sep 2019Business

It’s become a buzzword of modern city living – walkability – but why is there such a focus on making it easier to walk around our neighbourhoods and cities? The answer is simple: walking is good for us.

1 Cost

If you’re able to walk to the shops, to go out, to get to gym, or even to work, you’ll be driving less. This saves time and money in terms of sitting in traffic or commuting, owning and maintaining a vehicle, putting in fuel, paying for parking, etc. If you add it all up, it comes to a tidy sum that you could be saving.

More and more of us, especially younger people, are opting for a way of life that’s not based on owning a car. They’re choosing to walk, cycle, use a scooter or push scooter, even a skateboard… but not driving. It’s a trend in cities across the world, and so too in South Africa.

2 Safety

One of the biggest benefits of walkability, is the peace of mind it brings by way of greater safety and security thanks to more activity and people being out and about on foot.

3 Freedom

Being able to walk around safely and freely is liberating. Whether it’s to be able to buy daily necessities, make an impromptu coffee date with a friend, or be able to walk home after having dinner at your favourite restaurant – there’s the freedom of not having to drive or sit in traffic.

For people with disabilities, a walkable neighbourhood makes it easier to get around unaided. The freedom and independence to take care of their daily needs themselves is a big thing for people who often have to rely on others. The same goes for older people. In a walkable neighbourhood they can get many of the things they need, on their own steam – medication from the chemist, groceries from the supermarket, etc.

If a city or neighbourhood is designed to run on the basis of people having cars, people who don’t own one, or can’t drive, are instantly at a disadvantage. But a walkable neighbourhood changes this because it’s more likely that they’d be able to live independently.

4 Healthy living

Your physical and mental health also stand to benefit if you’re able to walk more. Regular exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and it’s a lot easier to stick to a schedule if you don’t have to drive to wherever it is that you’d like to exercise. If you live or work in a neighbourhood where it’s safe to walk around, it’s less likely that your health will suffer due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Generally speaking, even moderate activity on a regular basis reduces stress and makes it easier to relax. It increases your energy levels, and sharpens your memory. People in walkable neighbourhoods have been found to be healthier than those who live in areas where there are comparatively more cars, probably also due to lower levels of exhaust fumes and therefore better air quality.

If living or investing in a walkable neighbourhood sounds appealing to you, please contact Antonie Jordaan on 087 809 0000 or antoniej@amdec.co.za to discuss the Amdec Group’s Harbour Arch precinct, or any of their other mixed-use developments, where walkability is a cornerstone of layout and design.

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