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What is a Walk Score®? And why does it matter?

Most of us have heard the term, “walk score”. And most of us figure we know what it means - sorta, kinda. And most of us interested in real estate figure it’s probably important too, but that’s it. So let’s figure it out, once and for all. 

In very simple terms, a Walk Score® is a system developed to measure the “walkability” of various neighbourhoods. Starting from a specific address, the system analyzes the number of services and amenities that can be reached on foot from that location. In other words, how easily can you walk around a given neighbourhood to get your day-to-day living done?

How easily can you walk around your neighbourhood to get your day-to-day stuff done?
How easily can you walk around your neighbourhood to get your day-to-day stuff done?

Here’s an example: 6285 Chebucto Road, Halifax has a Walk Score® of 85, defined as “Very Walkable: Most errands can be accomplished on foot.” And a clickable map allows you to explore exactly which amenities are located nearby. 

Hmmm…restaurants, schools, grocery stores, a post office, a park…this is looking good!

 

6285 Chebucto Road, Halifax
6285 Chebucto Road, Halifax

Let’s try a condo building this time: 6095 Coburg Road #303 is a “Walker’s Paradise”, scoring an impressive 90. Again, the map is available to explore all the details. Very handy.

6095 Coburg Road #303
6095 Coburg Road #303

 

 

But wait! There’s more! 

Not only does 5677 Harris Street #412 earn an impressive Walk Score® of 93, its Bike Score of 100 makes it a “Biker’s Paradise: Flat as a pancake, excellent bike lanes”. 

Clearly these numbers can make a difference for the home seeker with a specific lifestyle in mind.

5677 Harris Street #412, Halifax
5677 Harris Street #412, Halifax

 

 

 

But don’t forget the Transit Score! Example: According to its Walk Score, Southport Condos is a Walker’s Paradise, Bikeable, with Good Transit. Looking great! 

The bonus: A unit at this address is available through Lease Better as a Vacation Rental - a great starting point for exploring Halifax.

Southport Condos - a great location for exploring Halifax
Southport Condos - a great location for exploring Halifax

 

 

 

You can learn more about Walk Scores® here. It’s a handy web application for exploring a neighbourhood from remote - or for learning more about your new neighbourhood once you’ve moved in. Obviously it’s a limited resource when compared to viewing and exploring in person, but Walk Scores® is definitely a valuable launching point when gathering information about a community. 

One last thing: let’s not shortchange communities located outside the larger urban hubs. The fact that small towns and rural areas don’t score high Walk Scores® shouldn’t mean that they aren’t walkable or liveable. Since smaller communities have fewer amenities than their larger counterparts, the scores are proportionately lower - places like Dartmouth, Mahone Bay or Lunenburg, where everything you need is just within your reach. When you visit these communities, you’ll see people walking, strolling, jogging, sailing - basically, living - and yes, enjoying restaurants and buying groceries just fine. Such is the diversity and connectedness of this place we call Nova Scotia.

Lunenburg: One of the most walkable towns in Nova Scotia (52 Kaulbach Street indicated)
Lunenburg: One of the most walkable towns in Nova Scotia (52 Kaulbach Street indicated)