Ten Keys to Walkable/Livable Communities
By Dan Burden
1. Compact, lively town center. Buildings frame streets;
block lengths are short. Merchants take pride in their shops' appearances.
A variety of stores offer local products and services. Significant housing
is found at downtown or village center sites. There is unique and distinct
personality or character to the place.
2. Many linkages to neighborhoods (including walkways, trails and roadways).
People have choices of many routes from their homes to the center, the
most direct are walking routes. All sidewalks are at least 5 feet wide
and most are buffered from streets by planting strips, bike lanes or on-street
parking. Well-maintained sidewalks are found on both sides of most streets.
Bike lanes are found on most streets. Most streets have good ADA access
to and from each block in all directions.
3. Low speed streets. Most motorists behave well in the downtown or village
center and near public areas by yielding to pedestrians. Motorists make
their turns at low speed. Few places force motorists to stop. Yield conditions
are most common.
4. Neighborhood schools and parks. Most children are able to walk or bicycle
to school and nearby parks. There is limited or no busing of school children.
Most residents live within a half-mile (preferably a quarter-mile) of
small parks or other well-maintained and attractive public spaces.
5. Public places for all. Many services and facilities support and attract
children, teens, people with disabilities and senior citizens to most
public spaces. Public restrooms, drinking fountains and sitting places
are common in many parts of town.
6. Convenient, safe and easy street crossings. Downtowns and village centers
have frequent, convenient, well-designed street crossings.
7. Inspiring and well-maintained public space. The community has many
"green" streets with trees and landscaping. The town form respects
the need for plenty of green and open space. Heritage trees line many
streets. Development practices call for street trees and planter strips;
homes are clustered to maximize green space. Trails and passageways through
natural areas are featured in many parts of town. Landscaping is respectful
of place, often featuring native species, drought resistant plants, colorful
materials, stone treatments or other local treats. In desert and high
country areas, many methods are used to minimize use of water and other
8. Mutually beneficial land use and transportation. People understand
and support compact development, urban infill, integral placement of mixed-use
buildings, and mixed-income neighborhoods. The built environment is of
human scale. Heritage buildings are respected. People support their small,
local stores. Residents seek ways to include affordable homes in most
neighborhoods. Transit connects centers of attraction with schedules so
frequent that times need not be posted. Residents have choice of travel
modes to most destinations.
9. Celebrated public space and public life. Streets, plazas, parks and
waterfronts are fun, festive, secure, convenient, efficient, comfortable
and welcoming places. Public space is tidy, well-kept, respected and loved.
Many of these places are surrounded by residential properties ensuring
eyes on the streets. These areas have many places to sit. Few or no buildings
have large blank walls, and few or no open parking lots exist off-street.
Any parking lots have great edges and greens.
10. Many people walking. Many diverse people are walking in most areas
of town. There are no rules against loitering. Lingering in public places
is encouraged and celebrated. Children rarely need to ask parents for