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Walkable Cities

Boston, Massachusetts
Prevention magazine has released its latest rankings of America’s best cities in which to take a stroll. This is the seventh straight year for the list, compiled in conjunction with the American Podiatric Medical Association and Sperling’s Best Places.

APMA and Prevention came up with about 20 criteria to judge how walk-friendly each of the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. is. They also asked “nationally-recognized experts in the field of walkable communities” (you mean there’s more than one?) to rate the cities on 1-5 scale based on their own expertise.

These criteria include:

-- Number of walking/hiking trails in a metro area’s county and within a 20-mile radius of the city center
-- Number/area of national forests and parks within a 60-mile radius, and number/area of local and state parks within a 30-mile radius
-- Percent of population that walks in general and that walks to work
-- Average miles driven vs. mass transit miles
-- Pedestrian fatalities
-- Crime rate
-- Air pollution
-- Availability of schools, museums, zoos and botanical gardens and arboretums
-- Sprawl index
-- Number of off-leash dog parks

And, as it seems with so many of these “quality of life”-type surveys, San Francisco came out on top. (SF would surely be No. 1 on the “Cities With Most Appearances on Top Cities Lists.”)

Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago round out the Top 5.

Though some lists like this are transparently marketing-driven (Top Ten Hot Dog Eating Cities, anyone?), I really like covering this Walkability one because of the sincerely good message it spreads. Walking is such a no-brainer: you don’t pollute and you make yourself healthier.

The rankings also include subcategories, like Safest Walks (topped by Rochester, NY) and Amazing Nature Walks (San Fran again).

With Captivate markets dominating the list, we’d like to hear how Captivate viewers are taking advantage of their cities' “walk-friendliness.” What routes are your faves? Let us know by commenting below or e-mailing kscribner@captivate.com

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“Walkable Cities”