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How walking helps the economy and could change your life

What's the best place to take a walk in Hamilton? What about in your neighbourhood? Author Dan Rubenstein explains why walking can change your life, is good for the planet and can be a major boost for the local economy.

There are 18 walking tours of the city taking place on Saturday, May 2, 2015 alone

Dan Rubenstein left his desk job as a journalist to travel and write about the simple and surprising benefits of walking. The result: his new book - " Born to Walk: the Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act." 5:12

What's the best place to take a walk in Hamilton? What about in your neighbourhood?

Author Dan Rubenstein explains why walking can change your life, is good for the planet and can be a major boost for the local economy. His new book is called Born to Walk: the Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act.

The website walkscore.com rates how easy it is to get around your town or neighbourhood by walking. And it gives Hamilton a score of 51 out of 100.

So tell us, Hamilton. Where are the best places to take a walk in Hamilton? Where are the worst?

Walkscore.com rates how easy or hard it is to walk to businesses, services or facilities in the neighbourhood where you live. (walkscore.com)

A new study of the history of Hamilton neighbourhoods says the city's housing boom has hit historically declining neighbourhoods partly because those areas have a high 'walkability' rating. That means residents can walk to facilities, services and businesses. The area around 118 James St. N., CBC Hamilton's office, rates a 99 out of 100 on the walkscore.com scale, a rating that is described on the site as a "walker's paradise" with "excellent transit."

In 2013, the Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) released a report showing that Hamilton is the second highest city for pedestrian deaths in Ontario. Social planner Sara Mayo measured it according to the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 pedestrian and transit commuters. Hamilton was second only to Windsor for risky streets.

If you are interested in getting to know your city better by foot, you can join one of many Jane's Walks. There are 18 taking place on Saturday, May 2 alone, including a dog-friendly walk along King Street East.

Economic advantages of walking

Rubenstein lists some economic advantages of more walking:

  • "Even after the 2008 economic collapse, real estate values maintained or grew because people (both millenials and baby boomers) are craving these dense, walkable urban spaces."
  • "People on foot tend to spend more money in retail shops."
  • When people save on gas, car purchase and maintenance the money saved by not driving that money tends to stay in the local economy.
  • A healthier population that walks more will consume less health care.

Listen to his full interview with CBC Hamilton's @ConradCollaco at the top of this page.

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