The history of the walkable neighborhood
Cars have only been around for a short time where the every man could afford one. For the centuries before the invention of the car, our feet were our main mode of transport. Our cities and communities reflected the need for walkability. But in the latter half of the 20th century we saw the rise of population and the popularity of the suburban neighborhood, and the largest number of homes in our real estate inventories.
But as issues around the rise in obesity and environmental concerns grew, city planners began to look at recreating the walkability of neighborhoods and cities. Making it one of the hottest real estate trends in today’s market is the highly desirable, walkable neighborhood. It is predicted to only increase as the largest US generation continues to enter the market. A whopping 71% of millennials rank a walkable neighborhood at the top of their list in purchasing a home.
What makes a neighborhood walkable?
Walkable neighborhoods always have a center that the city planners work out from to create a bustling community. For walkability to thrive, a community needs enough people (usually at mixed income levels) to buy and shop and dine, allowing businesses to grow. You’ll also see a healthy mix of parks and public spaces for the community to gather in successful walkable neighborhoods.
If you look at a walkable neighborhood map versus a non-walkable neighborhood, you’ll see enough businesses, schools, shops, and offices that the majority of the community can walk or bike to, instead of having to go outside of the community for those resources. And the streets are set up for more than just cars, they also allow for pedestrians, bikes, and public transit.
A neighborhood that offers walkability give you more than just convenience. A walkable neighborhood also improves health (walking to dinner or biking to the grocery store) instead of sitting in your car at every red light). It also has a long-term impact on our environment by cutting the emissions when you drive your car less. Your monthly finances also experience a boon. Gas is not cheap and when your feet, bike, or public transportation are used more often than your car, your monthly gas bill is lowered.
Walkable neighborhoods draw a community together because the less time you spend in your commute, that energy goes back into your community and family.
Walkable doesn’t mean just urban
As the demand for walkability in our neighborhoods grows, the trend is growing outside of the urban centers into our suburban communities. You see the transformation of strip malls and the addition of small retail spaces injected into neighborhoods. The retrofitting of the suburbs is ready to meet the needs of a new generation of families.
We are also seeing more master-planned neighborhoods, like Westhaven in Franklin, where not just houses were put up, but a community with houses and retail and businesses were built allowing families to find affordable housing with the size needs – and still get the walkability they desire.
The best walkable Nashville neighborhoods
If you are looking to buy in a walkable Nashville neighborhood, here are some of the most popular walking neighborhoods.
East Nashville: This Nashville neighborhood has experienced a renaissance, and is a vibrant walkable community with small businesses and lots of great live music.
Germantown: If you are a foodie, Germantown’s walkable restaurant and indoor farmer’s market, make it the place food dreams are made of!
12 South: Don’t believe in buying your clothes from big box stores? Walking to the clothing boutiques in the 12 South neighborhood will offer all you need.
The Gulch: If you’re searching for a more urban setting, The Gulch’s former industrial district, turned bustling downtown neighborhood offers a walk to work in downtown Nashville and all the fun nightlife a night in downtown Nashville offers.
Westhaven: If you prefer suburban walkability, Franklin’s master planned community of Westhaven, is a small town within the city.