I found the video below on the Walkscore.com blog. Amusing, and quite thought-provoking (if a little preachy).
On this topic, I’m not quite sure why, but I had noticed there’s an enormous variety of places of worship in my suburb. Seems whatever your faith, there’s probably a local place for you. Seriously, within about fifteen minutes’ walk of my house, I found:
Assemblies of God
Churches of Christ Conference
Helenic Greek Orthodox
St Paul’s (Catholic)
Churches of the Resurrected Life
St John’s (Anglican)
Not quite everything covered, and it’s probably not that unusual in the average well-established suburb, but quite a collection.
How is it in newer suburbs? I wonder if some religious denominations have difficulty in funding places of worship in those areas. Then again, perhaps it matches the dwindling numbers of worshipers.
Walkscore gives an imperfect evaluation of how walkable a suburb is. It tries to work out where the schools, shops, restaurants, and so on are. (It doesn’t count places of worship.)
Walkscore’s data is imperfect because the Google map data (particularly for non-US cities) isn’t all there (but it’s improving), but also because it doesn’t take into account access to high quality public transport, which for most people, radically alters how much they can leave the car at home. The latter is negated a bit, at least in most parts of Melbourne, by the fact that a lot of commercial development is based around railway stations, so walkable access to lots of shops often means walkable access to trains as well.
This is borne out in the results for the various places I’ve lived. Elsternwick got the highest score, 97%, but other places I’ve lived such as Hawthorn had excellent PT access, which in an ideal world would score higher than 71%. Ditto, but less so, for Glen Huntly, at 72%. The lowest score was my mum’s place, 55%, which is pretty much accurate, and my current place gets 77%.
It appears that Walkscore is catching on in Australia, with some real estate web sites now using it here too.
It’s long been known that walking access to shops and other community resources adds to the prices of houses, but I suspect people are starting to realise that walkable neighbourhoods really are more liveable, quite apart from the benefits of reduced fuel bills, environmental footprint, traffic congestion and physical fitness.