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Houston Increasing Its Walkability

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By now you know all about Houston's branding as a walkable city. Yes, we mean humid, cook-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-in-the-summer Houston. We walk here, well, "tentatively," at least.

According to a recent study by the coalition Smart Growth America (Houston Tomorrow's David Crossley is the president of their board), Houston ranks 15th out of the 30 most walkable metropolitan big cities in the country. Not bad, but the "tentative" title means we're still heavy car users.

The way the organization got the results for this survey was by looking at office and retail space within areas where people are likely to get around on foot.

According to the study, Houston fell somewhere in the third tier of walking-friendly places.

Four of these six metros--Houston, Columbus, Kansas City, and Cincinnati--have 93 percent or more of their walkable urban office and retail space in the central city; virtually no walkable urbanism exists in their suburbs . These four metros continued the expansion of drivable sub-urban development patterns, especially Houston with its fast-growing, energy-based economy over the last decade . Despite the predominant trend, they also possess some surprising examples of revitalizing WalkUPs .

"WalkUPs" is the marketing catchphrase used in the study to mean walkable urban places.

So who are we more walkable (better!) than? Dallas, of course -- hello down there at number 25. Miami (23), San Diego (24), Los Angeles (18), Kansas City (17), San Antonio (27), Phoenix (29) and Las Vegas (26) rank lower on the walking scale. The top three are Washington, D.C., New York and Boston; good luck enjoying those walkable cities in February.

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