Calle Florida. Buenos Aires. Author: Miguel A. Monjas. Commons Wikimedia.org
A study from the University of New Hampshire says that living in a walkable neighborhood yields social benefits. The study, titled "Examining Walkability and Social Capital as Indicators of Quality of Life at the Municipal and Neighborhood Scales," was led by Shannon Rogers, a Ph.D.
It involved a survey of 700 residents of twenty neighborhoods in Portsmouth and Manchester, NH. Respondents answered questions on the walkability of their neighborhood and on their social capital. A UNH press release explained the results:
City Hall of Pasadena, California. It is said that Pasadena is one of the walkable cities of California. At the end of the perspective, the pedestrian street, that I´ve never seen crowded. Picture by Myriam B. Mahiques
Those living in more walkable neighborhoods trusted their neighbors more; participated in community projects, clubs and volunteering more; and described television as their major form of entertainment less than survey participants living in less walkable neighborhoods.
However, while the results seem persuasive, they should not be taken as scientifically conclusive:
Rogers cautions that the study's results are mitigated by a possible self-selection bias: "People who enjoy walking may choose to live in more walkable neighborhoods," she says, adding that it would be naïve to say this study "proves" that walkability affects social capital in neighborhoods.
Adapted fragments of New Study Shows Walkable Neighborhoods Make People Happier. By Alex Davies.