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Finding a Walkable Neighbourhood

Posted by Sherry Rioux on December 3, 2007

Collingwood continually seeks to de-emphasize a strong dependence on vehicles and moves toward being a more pedestrian friendly, walk-able town with a human scale.

That statement is one of the eight core values expressed in Collingwood’s Official Plan.  It’s debatable as to how hard the town has worked at achieving that goal however, the “walkability” value of urban spaces is significant.

In this area, there has been a definite real estate trend of people buying homes closer to the downtown core.  Houses within a few blocks of shops and services tend to sell more quickly and often at much higher prices than those located farther away.  It makes sense.  Over the past decade, many people have become either more environmentally or, more health conscious when choosing a location for their next home.  As the population ages, we also look for ways to leave the car at home and, on a snowy and icy day like today, I can think of even more reasons to live close to needed amenities.

Numerous studies of late, such as this one, have shown that there are definite health benefits to compact communities and consequences to sprawl.  Municipalities are slowing beginning to understand the value of concepts behind walkable (and sustainable) communities.

I recently came across a terrific website called Walk Score.  You can enter the address of any property in North America and it will provide a rating of it’s “walkability.”  While it has some limitations, it is a pretty cool little tool that may be helpful to new residents considering different areas in South Georgian Bay.

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