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Walkable Cities Linked to the American Dream

Researchers linked walkability to a greater sense of community
Researchers linked walkability to a greater sense of community. (Photo: Hawes Spencer)

The pathway to the American dream may be paved not with asphalt but with better sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, according to new research from the University of Virginia. Hawes Spencer has this report on a recent set of studies that found that children raised in a walkable a city will likely earn more money than their parents.


Hawes Spencer:  The researchers controlled for race, politics, and at-home parents and still found upward mobility associated with walking, and history professor Peter Norton isn't surprised.

Peter Norton:  "We should we walking more,  and we need environments in which walking is practical and makes sense."

Spencer:  Norton wasn't involved in this research but has studied the history of automobile domination.

Norton:  "And so what we need to do now is rediscover normal, and I think normal means walking first, cycling, efficient transit; and driving can be a useful supplement to all of that instead of the only thing we do."

Spencer:  The researchers also found mental benefits from living in walkable areas.

In Charlottesville, Hawes Spencer for VPM News.

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