Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that I consider walkability very important to both the environment and one's general health, both physical and mental. According to an interesting post on the AARP website blog that I read recently, walkable communities also tend to be safer communities. The author, Dan Burden, is the Executive Director of the unities Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. His thinking is: In a neighborhood where residents barely see each other, how can they look out for each other?
In the post, Burden recounts his visits to gated communities and more open, accessible ones. Contrary to expectation, gated communities, built for seclusion and isolation, are not safer. He explains that "Neighbors in neighborhoods designed for inclusiveness watch over their streets naturally and consistently...They use the sidewalks and trails and open space as more than just a place to pass by in their cars but rather as a way to connect, and yes, as a way to create natural surveillance of their neighborhoods."
I have to admit that before reading Burden's post, I had never thought of walkability as a boon to public safety . It makes a lot of sense, though, and also makes me even more glad that I live and work in Montclair, New Jersey.