Walkable density mapped for the nation’s largest metropolitan areas
by DW Rowlands
In a companion commentary, DW Rowlands describes a technique for adjusting density measurements to account for the connectedness of local street networks. This measurement shows the difference between the actual walkable density (how many people live nearby based on how far one can walk) rather than straight-line or “ideal” density (how many people are nearby based on a measure that considers only straight-line distances). The difference between the two measures (walkable density vs. ideal density) is an indicator of how well connected a neighborhood is for people walking. This page shows maps of each of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, with census tracts shaded based on how closely each neighborhood’s actual walkable density approaches its ideal (straight-line) density. Areas shaded dark blue are those where realized walkable density comes closest to ideal density; areas shaded light blue are those where the disconnectedness of the street network means that actual walkable density is dramatically less than idea density.