(MARTA) stop,” he said. “There is a lot of development in new buildings close in, too. Ours is just 10
years old. There are also nice residential neighborhoods
within a short walking distance, but we wanted the
He said the square hosts frequent cultural events, including Saturday concerts, book, wine and other music
festivals. Shops, restaurants, parks and churches are all
within walking distance, too, he added.
Scarborough, who was the CEO of an Atlanta high-tech
company and later ran a running shoe store in Decatur
that he recently sold, said his wife works at the Emory
University hospital, which is less than three miles from
Decatur. Sometimes she takes the bus to work and then
walks home, he said.
“We’re not quite ready to retire,” he said. “But we plan
to age in place because Decatur is so nice. And the walk-
ability is a big part of that.”
Kaid Benfield, author of “People Habitat: 25 Ways to
Think About Greener, Healthier Cities,” said communi-
ties like Decatur are ahead of the curve because they have
more than just safe sidewalks, but “interesting places to
walk to like shops, restaurants, parks and transit.”
He said the best walkable communities — of all sizes
— have short blocks, frequent intersections, and are well-
connected so pedestrians have a number of ways to get
from their dwellings to sites they want to visit.
“The research shows people will walk around a quarter of
a mile to get to a bus stop and half a mile to get to a rail
stop, which roughly translates into five to 10 minutes,”
said Benfield, who is Senior Counsel for Environmental
Strategies for Placemakers, an urban design and planning company.
“People really are gravitating to neighborhoods that
have good grids and connections,” he said. “They will
pay on average another $100,000 for a house that has a
20 point increase in its walkscore.com grade. Generally,
dense downtowns get a score close to 100, while a home
out in the suburbs might only get a 50.”
He noted that towns that haven’t been that pedestrian
friendly are changing their zoning codes to promote walkability. He said some of that has been driven by business
executives who want to attract young talent.
Benfield said Dublin, Ohio — a well-to-do suburb of
Columbus that is home to several corporate headquarters, is remaking its core into a walkable downtown with
The best walkable communities have
short blocks, frequent intersections,
and are well-connected.
Courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development Courtesy of The Office of TourismOhio