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Walkable Communities

“Consumers’ preference for walkability isn’t just a trend but a structural change in the way many Americans see the American Dream.”  Jeff Speck, City Planner, Urban Designer & Author.

“Yes, the big new trend in residential real estate is walkability.” Buying a Home? Consider its Walkability

Walkable communities are becoming the latest trend in real estate and REALTORS® need to be aware of how the demand for walkable communities impacts real estate and their business.

Homebuyers rely on REALTORS®’ knowledge of local markets and conditions to help them find a home in a neighborhood of choice.  As the walkability trend continues, homebuyers will expect REALTORS® to know how walkable a community is and what are the most walkable communities in an area. 

Walkable Communities in a Nutshell

A walkable community is where residents can walk, bike or take public transit (light rail, trolleys and/or buses) to grocery stores, shops, schools, work, cafes, markets, playgrounds and parks.  Walkable communities have a mix of housing types as well as mixed-use buildings that combine residential, office, and retail.  They can be high-rise urban neighborhoods, traditional downtowns and main streets, or suburban town centers.

What makes a community walkable?

  • A center and public spaces: a main place for everyone to meet whether that be a main street or plaza as well as plenty of other public spaces for the community to gather.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: a choice of all types of housing; retail on the ground level and residential on upper levels; a variety of buildings.
  • Parks, trails and paths: plenty of open spaces to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: buildings close to the street; parking lots to the back; safe lighting
  • Shops, schools and workplaces: close enough that most residents can walk from their homes or transit.
  • Complete streets: streets designed for all including bicyclists, pedestrians, cars and public transit; bike lanes; crosswalks.
  • People: enough people for businesses to succeed and for public transit to run frequently.

Demand and Impact

Benefits Communities

Why Not More Walkable Communities

Creating Walkable Communities


Fact Sheet


Session at 2016 NAR Annual Conference