This brief reports the results of a survey conducted in 2009 of approximately 2,000 households in Portsmouth and Manchester, New Hampshire, to examine the connection between walkability and social capital. Authors Shannon Rogers, Kevin Gardner, and Cynthia Carlson report that higher levels of social capital are found in areas that are perceived to be more walkable, as measured by the number of places people can walk to in their community. In addition, walkability is influenced by concerns of safety, access, time, and health and by physical characteristics such as proximity, scale, and aesthetics. Given the link between walkability and greater social capital, and in turn the link between social capital and numerous positive outcomes, refitting communities with greater walkability can have short- and longer-term payoffs. The authors conclude that more walkable communities are healthier communities, and as the research in the brief shows, residents in them are more connected to one another not only by sidewalks but also through the social networks and social capital they form when they live in communities that encourage gathering and meeting face-to-face.
New Hampshire and New England Issue Brief No. 38
Durham, N.H. : Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire
Rogers, Shannon H.; Gardner, Kevin H.; and Carlson, Cynthia H., "Walking builds community cohesion: Survey of two New Hampshire communities looks at social capital and walkability" (2014). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars' Repository. 209.
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