Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Walkable Neighborhoods

Teresa Madaleno

Would you live in a walkable neighbourhood? Perhaps you already do. According to the web-based real estate database, Redfin, American cities are trying to build more homes in walkable neighborhoods to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Walkable neighborhoods are sustainable – they mean you don’t have to rely on transportation, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. When we live in spread out suburbs far from our workplace, shopping, schools and other amenities, we have to drive. Transportation creates traffic and more burning of fossil fuels. Walkable neighborhoods have much lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Today New York, San Francisco, and Boston can be labeled as walkable. Their urban centres were built before the surge of the automobile. Now cities like Cleveland, Dallas and Seattle are building homes in walkable neighborhoods. Redfin reports that Philadelphia is being redeveloped at a fast pace.

Here’s what Redfin agent Tom Lewis said in a recent blog post: “Philly is on fire when it comes to walkable new construction. In nearly every direction you look there are new apartments or condos going up and older buildings are being rehabilitated.”

Walkable, sustainable cities are about building up as opposed to building out. Studies show that the average person living in a walkable neighborhood weighs 6 to 10 pounds less than someone who lives in a sprawling neighborhood and of course, their feet produce zero percent pollution.

Many people think of cities as dirty, congested environments, but municipal planners say that when developed the right way, a city can be a healthy place to live, work and play.

According to walkable.org, a group that promotes walkable communities, walkable neighborhoods lead to more physical fitness, increased wellness, social interaction, and economic growth.