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Chicago Neighborhood’s Walk-Ability Scored

November 11, 2009
Green = Walkable, Red = Less Walkable

Green = Walkable, Red = Less Walkable

When a home buyer is looking at Chicago real estate and which neighborhood to purchase a home or condo in, one should take into account its ‘Walk Score’.  Developed by Front Seat, a civic software company out of Seattle Washington (which is the 6th most walkable city in America), the idea is to determine what areas of Chicago are least dependent on the automobile.

Not surprisingly is that the top ‘walkable’ neighborhoods in Chicago are primarily the areas of highest values.  Excluding the Loop and Near North Side community areas (ranked 1 and 2 respectively and primarily commercial areas), Lincoln Park, Lake View, Uptown, Edgewater, Near South Side, Rogers Park, West Town and Hyde Park round out the top ten.   These Chicago neighborhoods are also (to no surprise here) the most densely populated neighborhoods providing local business incentive to open next door in often too, high-rent areas.

How It Works

Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address based on the distance from your house to nearby amenities. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking.  Chicago ranks, according to Walkscore, 4th behind San Francisco, New York and Boston respectively.

What does my score mean?

Your Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100. Here are general guidelines for interpreting your score:

  • 90–100 = Walkers’ Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
  • 70–89 = Very Walkable: It’s possible to get by without owning a car.
  • 50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
  • 25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
  • 0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

The Walk Score™ Algorithm

Walk Score uses a patent-pending system to measure the walkability of an address. The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on the distance to the closest amenity in each category. If the closest amenity in a category is within .25 miles (or .4 km), we assign the maximum number of points. The number of points declines as the distance approaches 1 mile (or 1.6 km)—no points are awarded for amenities further than 1 mile. Each category is weighted equally and the points are summed and normalized to yield a score from 0–100. The number of nearby amenities is the leading predictor of whether people walk.

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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