Walkability is a measure of how safe, convenient and enjoyable it is to walk to useful destinations such as shops, cafes, bars, parks and schools. 

The right to walk

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Streetfilms argue that people have the right to walk, and that cities should invest in infrastructure for walking:

Elements of walkability

Walkability is a combination of density, mix and access:

While the synergies of density, mix and access are also deeply complex, they are at the heart of what makes great cities tick.

Dovey and Pafka 2019
Image credit: Dovey and Pafka 2019

Walk Score

Walk Score offers one measure of walkability, mainly focussed on the distance to various destinations

Based on Walk Score, the City of Yarra already includes many of the most highly ranked suburbs in Melbourne, including:

  • Fitzroy (2nd most walkable suburb in Melbourne, with a score of 96);
  • Fitzroy North (3rd most walkable, score of 93);
  • Collingwood (9th most walkable, score of 92);
  • Richmond (12th most walkable, score of 90);
  • Cremorne (13th most walkable, score of 89); and
  • Carlton North (16th most walkable, score of 88).

Greater Melbourne gets an overall average score of only 57 (somewhat walkable). We can improve Yarra’s natural advantages in walkability (relative high density and mixed commercial/residential areas) by improving the design of our streets – by bringing them alive with wider footpaths and with protected bicycle lanes acting as a barrier to moving traffic.

Supporters

Supporters for walkability in Yarra include Victoria Walks. They recommend this video on how to assess the walkability of your local streets: