What Does “Walkability” Say About Your Neighborhood?
Preservationists continually try to link “preservation” (older buildings, neighborhoods with character, the sense of stability, etc.) with some sort of proof that preservation can equal money (because our world really comes down to money most of the time, can we all agree on that, even if we don’t agree with it?). It’s a challenge because it’s hard to quantify what it is about preservation that adds value to a neighborhood. So much is subjective, or hard to quantify.
Which is why I read with interest the attached post from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that studies “walkability” and links it to increased property values. The author of the study Joseph Cortwright, for CEOs for Cities, create a “Walk Score” and studies 15 markets.
Older and historic neighborhoods tend to be very walkable and scored well. Yay!
Perhaps this is an example to be followed — we need to look at the very quantifiable features and benefits of historic buildings and neighborhoods and measure their value in those terms. Let’s see, other than “walkability” what else can we come up with? “Sustainability”? “Artistic quality” (there I am thinking of how the cost of a house often doesn’t capture the real value of the workmanship it contains — e.g. think of each individual piece of craftsmanship contained in a place like La Ronda — what’s the value to reproduce that intricately carved window or mantel in the current market — of course, a valuation like that could be a nightmare if you let the insurers see it…). What other benefits can you think of?
Check the Walk Score for your property and see how you do. (Walk Scores available for 40 U.S. cities). How does your place rank?