Missing Persons famously sang that Nobody Walks In LA all the way back in 1982. But, according to one report, the times they are a changing. More people will soon be walking in that car-centric city than they do now, the theory goes. Just like they will in Boston, Miami, Atlanta and Detroit.

A report from the George Washington University School of Business' Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis ranked the 30 largest US metropolitan areas by walkability, and placed Washington, DC, atop its list. DC was followed by Boston, New York and San Francisco, with Chicago coming in at number 5. Rankings were obtained by measuring the percentage of commercial real estate space located within so-called "walkable urban spaces." Cities like Tampa, Phoenix and Orlando came in at the bottom of the list.

Lots of people are taking their walking talents to South Beach.

Things get more interesting when factoring which cities will get more walkable with time. Boston, DC and New York topped that list, but Los Angeles moved up to No. 11 from No. 18 on the current walkability list. Miami's jump was even more stunning, to No. 4 from No. 23, indicating that lots of people are taking their walking talents to South Beach. Detroit made almost as big a jump as Miami.

One of the report's findings was that more walkability means higher overall income, but that's where things get a little hazy. Yes, people in more pedestrian-friendly cities like Boston, New York or San Francisco tend to make more money, but that's a chicken-or-egg question of cause and effect. After all, another report from the US Census Bureau that came out earlier this year indicated that low income people were more likely to walk or bike to work than those with flush bank accounts. And then there was the March 2012 research brief from Bridging the Gap that noted that higher-income areas generally had more pedestrian-friendly touches like better sidewalk lighting and marked crosswalks.That may be more an issue of a bigger tax base and political clout. Still, the George Washington U. report is worth a read, especially for the new-urbanist types. You can find it here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      mylexicon
      • 5 Months Ago
      It's both chicken and egg, imo. The wealthy chickens are shelling out money to produce walkable urban environments. However, urban pedestrianism undermines the current economies of scale (lean labor practices) for big box retailers. Businesses open more locations to better serve pedestrians with limited range. Automobile and gasoline spending by consumers is converted into wages for local employees.
      Hal
      • 5 Months Ago
      Being able to walk to work, shops and restaurants is very enjoyable. I wouldn't what to live any other way.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 5 Months Ago
      They do not go hand in hand. But in many areas, it can increase both wealth and well being.
      Rotation
      • 5 Months Ago
      There's some serious density building up downtown on Figueroa. It's definitely a walkable area now. Which is so weird for LA.