Monthly Archives: February 2017

Picture of houses in suburban neighbourhood

March 21 – Free webinar on creating equitable neighbourhood changes

America Walks is hosting a free webinar on walkability and equitable development changes on Wednesday, March 21st at 1pm Eastern Time,  10am Pacific Time. Join them for the “Advancing Neighborhood Change Through Equity and Inclusion” webinar here.

America Walks is a nonprofit organization in the United States of America that is leading the way in making America a great place to walk.

About the webinar

Walkability is at the cornerstone of creating neighborhoods that are vital and vibrant, allowing all members of a community to enjoy health, social and economic benefits in a variety of forms. In this webinar, we will aim to look at how to protect and promote the identity and culture of a community, while making room for new development and change. We will feature an example of a community lead equitable development plan, will provide a toolkit of approaches used to prevent displacement and make sure that evolving communities remain affordable and diverse, and hear how affordable housing developers have re-oriented their efforts to build whole communities, by supporting small businesses, protecting the culture of a place, and re-asserting the primacy of resident engagement and the importance of listening.

America Walks will share some of their recent work on the issues of gentrification and displacement and hear from three people working with and in communities around the US who are tackling this challenge. Attendees will:

  • Hear about our research into some of the resources, techniques, and current best practices available for advocates working in this area
  • Learn about a toolkit that provides strategies for communities that have been or may be affected by gentrification
  • Explore community projects that are working with these issues on a daily basis

Walkability and Walk10Blocks

The surveys in the Walk10Blocks app include questions on walkability. Data collected from these questions will help users recognize and understand their own physical activity levels and sedentary behaviour and create awareness about neighbourhood resources.

The Walkability Index

The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) School of Population and Public Health have developed a Walkability Index, a resource tool used to measure and visualize walkability. According to the department, walkability is “largely a function of the proximity and connectivity between destinations, or the degree to which we can travel directly between places where we live, work and play.” Different characteristics of walkable neighbourhoods will support different types of transportation method, such as taking public transit or cycling. These measures can capture the nuances of proximity and connectivity as they relate to travel and health outcomes and help inform land use and transportation planning, policy, and investment decisions.

Below is the description of the Walkability Index from UBC’s website:

The WALKABILITY INDEX includes four components that capture differences in the physical environment:

  • Residential density is the number of residential units per acre within a neighbourhood. A higher value indicates that more people live in the area.
  • Commercial density (also called Retail Floor Area Ratio) is the amount of area designated for commercial use within a neighbourhood. A higher value indicates that more businesses, restaurants, retail shops and other commercial uses are located in the area.
  • Land use mix is the degree of mixing of different types of land uses (such as residential, commercial, entertainment, and office development) in a specific area. A higher value indicates a more even distribution of land between the different types of land uses.
  • Street connectivity is measured by the number of street intersections in a neighbourhood. A higher value indicates more intersections and a greater degree of connectivity enabling more direct travel between two points using existing streets and pathways.

These components all play a role in shaping the walkability of our neighbourhoods, separately or in combination. Data from these four components are combined into a composite value of overall walkability to measure the physical aspects of the environment. The standard walkability index for each neighbourhood is expressed as a unitless number. This is useful in relative terms: the higher the number, the more walkable a neighbourhood is based on the indicators used.