When a home buyer is looking at Chicago real estate and which neighborhood to purchase a home or condo in, one should take into account its ‘Walk Score’. Developed by Front Seat, a civic software company out of Seattle Washington (which is the 6th most walkable city in America), the idea is to determine what areas of Chicago are least dependent on the automobile.
Not surprisingly is that the top ‘walkable’ neighborhoods in Chicago are primarily the areas of highest values. Excluding the Loop and Near North Side community areas (ranked 1 and 2 respectively and primarily commercial areas), Lincoln Park, Lake View, Uptown, Edgewater, Near South Side, Rogers Park, West Town and Hyde Park round out the top ten. These Chicago neighborhoods are also (to no surprise here) the most densely populated neighborhoods providing local business incentive to open next door in often too, high-rent areas.
How It Works
Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address based on the distance from your house to nearby amenities. Walk Score measures how easy it is to live a car-lite lifestyle—not how pretty the area is for walking. Chicago ranks, according to Walkscore, 4th behind San Francisco, New York and Boston respectively.
What does my score mean?
Your Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100. Here are general guidelines for interpreting your score:
- 90–100 = Walkers’ Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
- 70–89 = Very Walkable: It’s possible to get by without owning a car.
- 50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
- 25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
- 0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!
The Walk Score™ Algorithm
Walk Score uses a patent-pending system to measure the walkability of an address. The Walk Score algorithm awards points based on the distance to the closest amenity in each category. If the closest amenity in a category is within .25 miles (or .4 km), we assign the maximum number of points. The number of points declines as the distance approaches 1 mile (or 1.6 km)—no points are awarded for amenities further than 1 mile. Each category is weighted equally and the points are summed and normalized to yield a score from 0–100. The number of nearby amenities is the leading predictor of whether people walk.