Economic Benefits of Walkability
Many experts affirm the benefits of walkability. “Recent studies show that in addition to the physical benefits associated with healthy communities, walkable communities can also provide economic and environmental benefits,” reports the Institute for Public Administration. “Safe, walkable environments can provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to stay socially connected and engaged.”
Another scholarly source says, “Walking and walkability provide a variety of benefits, including accessibility, consumer cost savings, public cost savings (reduced external costs), more efficient land use, community livability, improved fitness and public health, economic development, and support for equity objectives.”
NewVistas takes walkability further than other modern community designs, which invariably overemphasize the automobile. The pattern’s prescribed density makes each physical community 100% walkable, as well as 100% navigable for the disabled.
In addition to providing exercise, a walkable system at the right scale of 75,000–100,000 participants saves time, saves money, and opens many economic opportunities for a wide variety of people, including youth, the elderly, and the disabled.
One objective of the NewVistas economic system is to provide part-time or full-time contract work for all participants age 12 and up and enable them to keep working in some manner regardless of age or ability, except in rare cases of severe disability.
Combined with PayZoom, walkability enables flexible work schedules and locations and a bigger variety of part-time work. To allow seamless scheduling, all community activities and space rentals start at the top of the hour and run 45 minutes, allowing 15 minutes for people to walk to their next activity and for spaces to transform to accommodate the next activity.
This scheduling pattern applies to work, education, entertainment, and all other activities. If more than 45 minutes are needed, participants can rent additional one-hour blocks of time. However, the NewVistas model encourages participants to accommodate human attention spans and avoid burnout by not scheduling long meetings, classes, and work sessions.
NewVistas’ walkable economic system promotes personal productivity and fulfillment. Combined with lower cost of living, complete walkability makes it possible for participants to enjoy remarkable job flexibility and variety. Many NewVistas participants will work part-time for multiple VistaBizzes rather than full time for just one VistaBiz, which PayZoom makes easy with communitywide scheduling, payroll, and access to community insurance.
For parents with children under age 12, childcare is integrated into the walkable community so parents can easily visit and monitor their children between work and activity sessions.
As an example, consider a 14-year-old boy. Instead of being warehoused continuously for hours every day in an institutional school, he can walk to classes, workshops, internships, and apprenticeships at any time all over the community.
He can walk to his part-time job at a store or farm. He can walk to activities such as sports, theater, or music lessons. If he wants to run his own small business, he has full access to PayZoom and the community’s administrative services and resources.
The boy’s day is extremely flexible, with a much wider range of opportunities than most teenagers get in today’s communities. Walking gives him exercise and connects him with people, and no adults must spend time shuttling him around.
With a NewVistas community’s low cost of living and high economic opportunity, teenage participants can become financially independent earlier in life.
Similarly, imagine a lawyer who, in today’s sprawling economy, works all day and often overtime to meet her family’s expensive needs and wants. In NewVistas, this participant replaces her commute with pleasant walks of five or ten minutes through a beautiful green campus. With the lower cost of living, she has extra income to invest in the community or do things like travel. Alternatively, she could free up her time by reducing her high-paid lawyering to three hours a day.
With transforming technology, this lawyer can vary whether she works in her home office or in other offices that she rents by the hour anywhere in the community.
At any time during the day or evening, she can easily walk to activities such as basketball or swimming; a concert; a change-of-pace side job working part-time with a farmer, baker, manufacturer, or science lab; lunch or dinner at a deli; a class she’s taking or teaching; a group she volunteers with; or a family outing. Walkability gives her freedom to fill her days with variety, exercise, and community interaction.
NewVistas also works for lower-income individuals. Consider, for example, a single mother with three children. With the low cost of living, she can meet her family’s basic needs with a part-time contract paying as low as $15 an hour. Childcare services are closer and cheaper, with more opportunities for mothers or fathers to provide contract childcare services to other participants.
In a gated, monitored NewVistas community, the single mother can feel comfortable allowing her older children to play outside and walk to activities without supervision. Once her children turn 12, they start doing part-time work for experience and income. The single mother’s lifestyle is improved, and her stress is reduced.
In short, NewVistas makes it easier for someone without many skills and resources to enjoy the same basic living standard as someone like the lawyer in the example above.
- “The Benefits of Creating a Walkable Community,” Institute for Public Administration, University of Delaware, http://www.ipa.udel.edu/healthyDEtoolkit/walkability/benefits.html. See also “Economic Benefits of a Walkable Community,” Center for Community Economic Development, http://fyi.uwex.edu/downtowneconomics/files/2012/07/economic-benefits-of-a-walkable-community.pdf; “Walkability Is Good for You,” CityLab, http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/12/growing-evidence-shows-walkability-is-good-for-you-and-for-cities/383612/.↩
- “Economic Value of Walkability,” Transportation Research Record, http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/10.3141/1828-01.↩
- For discussion of these issues, see sources such as http://meetingking.com/how-long-should-a-meeting-be/ and http://ideas.time.com/2012/10/02/why-lectures-are-ineffective/.↩
- Luxuries with a high carbon footprint, such as airplane travel, require payment of an extra consumption tax to the community.↩