Walkable neighborhood improves life

Dec. 8, 2010 at 8:10 PM
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DURHAM, N.H., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- People who live in walkable communities not only get more exercise, they are more involved in civic life and trust one another more, U.S. researchers say.

Shannon Rogers and her research team at the University of New Hampshire says trust in neighbors and being more involved in the neighborhood -- "social capital" -- is associated with higher quality of life.

The ability to walk and have easy access to post offices, parks and playgrounds, coffee shops, restaurants, barbershops and club meeting venues has been linked to a higher quality of life -- including reduced isolation, career connections and neighborhood safety.

The researchers studied two municipalities in the state of New Hampshire -- 10 neighborhoods were chosen in each of the cities and a total of 700 residents took part in the survey.

The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, found that on the whole, the more walkable neighborhoods scored higher than less walkable neighborhoods on every measure of social capital.

"Walkability may also enhance social capital by providing the means and locations for individuals to connect, share information, and interact with those that they might not otherwise meet," Rogers says in a statement.

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