Choosing a Walkable Neighborhood – Consider the Planned Community

December 15, 2023 By Isabelle Sophie Martinet

Walking is one of the most frequently-recommended exercises for seniors to stay fit. It’s gentle, promotes socializing with fellow walkers/neighbors and encourages one to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. This is why it’s important to choose a community that is not only affordable and that features the amenities you want, but also a community that encourages you to get out and enjoy your outdoor surroundings.

There is a website on the Internet called WalkScore.com, which rates neighborhoods on their “walkability”. It is still growing and many neighborhoods aren’t seen at their best because of the lack of data. It rates a neighborhood based on how many amenities are within a mile or so, but doesn’t score based on terrain or the true number of amenities available. However, it may well be a formidable Internet presence for the walking-minded in the future.

You don’t necessarily need shops within walking distance if you are simply walking for pleasure and exercise, but it is important to choose a community where you want to walk and where it’s safe to walk. There are many beautiful areas that are not the safest for any walker and, while you can arm yourself with pepper spray and a bullmastiff, it’s a lot more fun if you don’t have to. Also, there are many safe, respectable neighborhoods where the scenery is abysmal and the landscaping is not inspiring. You may also want to take this into consideration.

One of the solutions to the walker’s desire for safety and scenery is the planned community. There are many 55+ communities that offer cleanliness, a safe neighborhood, beautifully landscaped properties and parks, as well as neighbors who are prime candidates for friends and fellow walkers.

Palm Gardens in Mesa, AZ is one example of this kind of neighborhood. In addition to the many amenities offered for residents, such as swimming pool access and regularly scheduled events, it offers a number of clean, attractive streets and parks for strolling, with many features such as waterfalls and hundreds of lush palm trees. The Stewart family has owned this resort community since 1984 and have always given residential quality of life their first priority. The recent additions of the security gates make this community secure for residents, their relatives and their friends.

No matter what kind of community you choose for your ‘base’, it is a good idea to visit it several times and note the people and the scenery. Ask yourself if you want to be strolling on these streets for years. Do you like the look of the people – do they seem friendly and good neighbors? Are children allowed to run wild after dark or do mothers gather them in and caution them not to bother other people? Neighborhoods vary widely and it’s always smart to view a potential home with a critical eye to its surroundings.

A neighborhood that supports walking and a sense of community is the one to look for. Consider a planned community for walking; you might be pleasantly surprised at the thought and care taken to make your community experience exceptional.