Realtors' Perspective: What Makes a Neighborhood Great
Great neighborhoods are mixed-use and there is something for everyone. There is a thriving business community and a community center. There are great schools, playgrounds, parks, jobs and public transportation. There are restaurants and grocery stores and coffee shops. There is a drugstore on the corner, a bakery, a bar or two and some churches.
Great neighborhoods are diverse, walkable and bike-able but let’s not forget the library and the arts community.
Great neighborhoods have amenities and housing that allow people to live from cradle to grave as they age.
Not surprisingly, the hottest neighborhoods in Minnesota are the most walkable. Walkability offers some surprising benefits according to Walk Score, a web site that scores walkability. People who live in walkable neighborhoods weigh 6 to 10 pounds less than those who live in sprawling neighborhoods. Cities and neighborhoods that are walkable promote a healthier happier life style, according to a study by the University of Utah (http://unews.utah.edu/old/p/072808-1.html).
Walking is better for the environment because it doesn’t create any pollution, and is easier on the pocket book. Cars are the second largest household expense. People who spend less time in the car commuting to work have more time to spend doing the things they love. There is also some evidence that shorter commutes increase community involvement
Neighborhoods with walk scores of 90-100 are considered to be a walker’s paradise where daily errands do not require a car. Scores under 70 indicate that the neighborhood is somewhat walkable, with some amenities close to housing.
Here are six of the most walkable neighborhoods in Minnesota.
Downtown St. Paul - Walk score 95, population 7,363
- Downtown West Minneapolis - Walk score 91, population 5,700
- Loring Park Minneapolis - Walk score 9, population 7,728
- Lowery Hill East Minneapolis - Walk score 91, population 6,277
- Cedar-Riverside in Minneapolis – Walk score 89, population 7,978
- East Bank/Nicollet Island in Minneapolis – Walk score 89, population 1,126
Minneapolis is the 9th most walkable city in the nation. The most walkable city in Minnesota is Duluth with a score of 89. Minneapolis has an overall score of 69 and Saint Paul and overall score of 62. Bloomington comes in the lowest with a score of 39 making it more of a car-dependent community.
The walk score site also provides walk scores for individual addresses and within zip codes. Does your zip code core low on the walkability scare? Take heart, as there are even walkable areas within neighborhoods showing a fairly low walk score.