Friday, August 01, 2008

The Virtues of Age, Part 2

Older, walkable neighborhoods are, as I argued in another posting, good for the environment and the sense of community. Now a study from the University of Utah, described in Tara Parker-Pope's New York Times "Well" blog,shows that older neighborhoods may also be good for one's health. Walkable neighborhoods encourage residents to walk—to the store, to the library, to a neighbor's house, and to many other neighborhood locations. Newer, suburban-style neighborhoods are designed to keep car traffic moving; they do not encourage walking. In many cases, they effectively discourage it.

Walking is exercise in the outdoor air. Driving is sitting still in a large, moving steel box. A walk to the store uses calories and relieves stress. A drive to the store uses fewer calories and much of the time makes daily stress worse. Which is better for the body? The question almost answers itself. Little wonder that the Utah study found that walkable neighborhoods are better for your health than communities where residents drive everywhere.

One more reason for choosing to live in a city neighborhood.