I just read an article on usatoday.com that confirmed what I've suspected for awhile - that walkability leads to happiness. The article cited a recent study from the University of New Hampshire which found that people who live in walkable communities are happier than those who don't. Researchers interviewed 700 residents of three different communities and found that those who lived in the most walkable areas reported being happier, healthier and more likely to volunteer in their community than those who lived in less walkable areas.
Walkability is certainly one of the reasons I feel so connected to my own town. My sons bike to Montclair High School every day and to get to Edgemont park they just have to cross the street. On Sunday morning sometimes they walk over to Watchung Plaza and bring home a bag of Sunrise Bagels. I don't need a car to get to the train station, my office is walking distance from our home and the supermarket is next to my office. For me, walking along a tree-lined street to a locally-owned store beats driving on a highway to the mall any day - it's one of the things that makes Montclair a great place to live and Montclair real estate a great investment.