Urban development has improved considerably over the years. The ever-increasing quantity and quality of facilities and amenities offered by apartment buildings as well as gated communities are taking residential living to a whole new level. These features help attract more people to come and live in the city, as they guarantee a quality lifestyle. A secure, easily accessible and beautifully developed neighbourhood is where everyone prefers to live. This way homeowners can rest assured that even in their absence, they don’t need to worry about anything back at home. While location and security are arguably the two most important elements of a neighbourhood, walkability is often a deal-breaker for many, and for good reason. The benefits of walkability are wildly underrated. It’s important to remember that a good residential area or even a city can serve its residents well if it’s walkable and easily accessible for all.
Modes of transport are crucial to keep a city running but it shouldn’t be the only way to move from one point to another. Cities, as well as private entities, should build more footpaths and pedestrian-friendly spaces that not only enhance the beauty of an area but also encourage people to avoid jaywalking. Here in this particular piece, we have jotted down the benefits of walkability in cities.
Benefits Of Walkability
Before we jump to the benefits of walkability, let us understand what it actually means and why it is important.
What Is Walkability?
The term ‘walkability’ refers to the extent to which an area is friendly for residents, visitors or tourists and businesses. Any area is walkable where:
- People can roam around freely
- People don’t feel threatened
- Businesses can survive and be stable especially small businesses
- Footpaths for pedestrians are available
- Stands to use public transport are available
Importance Of Walkability
Living in a community is preferred because of the secure and intimate environment it provides. And walkable neighbourhoods make it easier to connect to other members of the community. Plus, it also benefits people in terms of access to neighbourhood amenities like nearby markets and parks.
Now let’s take a look at the benefits of walkability:
Positive Effect On Health
A walkable neighbourhood is where markets, parks and other places for leisure activities are within walking distance. It is important for everyone to go out for a brisk walk every day to maintain health and a balanced lifestyle. People who have a habit of early morning or evening walk have fewer chances of developing health problems. But all of us can’t maintain such a lifestyle except on weekends and during vacations. If you are living in a walkable neighbourhood, every time you have to get something from the market, you can simply walk instead of using your car. If it’s more than five minutes walk, you can even ride a bicycle.
For areas like Bahria Town Lahore, people living there have access to not only commercial markets but also parks, dining outlets and cinemas which people can go to easily. They avoid congested traffic to visit these places unlike other residents of the city. Walkability is a factor on which builders and town planners are increasingly focusing to ensure prospective residents don’t have to travel far in search of everyday essentials.
Less Environmental Pollution
One of the core ideas behind making a neighbourhood walkable is that people don’t have to use vehicles as an everyday necessity. Every time a car is switched on, the air gets polluted, especially in Pakistan where hybrid cars are still uncommon. The carbon dioxide emissions from cars not only pollute the air but also contribute to global warming.
If a town has facilities within a 5 minutes walk and has easy access to public transport or the pavements for pedestrians are properly built, the emission of carbon dioxide in the air can be reduced. Moreover, the less use of cars and motorbikes will also have an effect on noise pollution which also has many adverse effects on human health. The noise of traffic and horns honking on the road can cause health issues ranging from cognitive to cardiovascular problems. Walkable places encourage people to walk rather than use the car for small trips.
Safe and Secure Neighbourhoods
No one can ensure total safety and security of residents but the risks can be minimized. Areas like MM Alam Road Lahore and Gulberg Lahore are prominent in terms of safety and security for walkable areas in Lahore. The reason behind this is that these are both commercial areas, have the presence of pedestrian pathways and the presence of public as well as private security personnel.
Moreover, provincial governments are also investing in the installation of security cameras to monitor any criminal activities in such areas which encourages people to walk. On main roads as well as in private societies, there is a set speed limit to follow for people on the car which minimizes the risk of any road accident.
Welcome More Facilities And Amenities
An area that’s more walkable can also be used for neighbourhood amenities; the easier it is for people to walk in a certain area, the better it is for them to visit places like markets and restaurants. For instance, the Liberty Market in Gulberg is popular for shopping and it is within walking distance from MM Alam Road, which is another shopping hub as well as a popular dining hub.
Walkability can also be an asset in terms of tourism. There’s nothing like exploring a new place on foot. If a tourist destination is walkable, free from the cacophony of traffic, there are more chances for it to attract more tourists.
Real Estate Value Appreciation
The value of the real estate is bound to appreciate in such places. Everyone wants to live at a place where they have easy access to grocery shops, parks and commercial markets. While buying a house you consider some factors and often people are convinced to pay more to get a location which is safer, easily accessible and with better facilities and amenities. if you are selling or even renting your property, you can earn considerable gains on your investment.
City life is inarguably exciting and walkable areas make it more charming and convenient. Town planners as well as development authorities in Pakistan should invest more in making places walkable. The health of residents is directly proportional to walkability in their cities.
This is all we had to share with you about the benefits of walkability in cities. For more such pieces, keep visiting Zameen Blog, the best blog for lifestyle and tourism in Pakistan.