Local researchers are pointing to a new international study that has found a connection between obesity and urban geography – in particular as it relates to living in high-rise apartments. CREB®Now file photo

Walk scores playing a factor in property values

As the old adage goes, “location, location, location” is one of the main factors in determining a home’s value.

It can also help contribute to the overall health of a city, depending on how accessible it is to nearby amenities, said Robert Dalton with online sustainable city publication This Big City.

“The health of a city can be greatly boosted by a focus on improving walkability because it is a quality that most starkly reflects the economy, culture and crime rate of a city,” he said. “If any of these areas are weak, the walkability of a city will go down. This makes it a barometer of sorts for the health of a city.”

The City of Calgary and other local organizations have been focused in recent years on improving Calgary’s walkability and, in turn, encouraging more sustainable lifestyles.

According to Walkscore.com, Calgary has a total walk score of 48 and a transit score of 43 – earning the title of a “car-dependent” city and making it the 10th most walkable in Canada.

The top five communities for using your own two feet to get around are Chinatown with a score of 95, downtown (93), Cliff Bungalow (92), Eau Claire (91) and the Beltline (90).

As part of the East Village revitalization, RiverWalk is a four-kilometre system along the Bow and Elbow Rivers that, when completed, will allow for easy access to transit and amenities.

As well, the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway, around the city limits, is set to add another 138 kilometres to Calgary’s existing 770 kilometres of pathways

“We actually pass directly through 55 Calgary communities where 400,000 people live, because we encircle the city of Calgary, but we connect to all Calgarians through the city’s pathway network,” said Myrna Dube, CEO of Parks Foundation Calgary, which is behind the Greenway initiative.

“It’s a huge project and it will be a Calgary icon.

We’re very proud of it.”

Most recently, the City has added four dedicated bike lanes in a cycle track pilot downtown. The lanes have been added to Fifth Street S.W., Eighth, Ninth and 12th Avenues and a portion of Stephen Avenue.

The City anticipates the 6.5 kilometres of track will help accommodate the 11,000 cycle trips made in and out of the downtown core every day – a number that has increased 122 per cent since 1996.