Ok, it’s not exactly news, but my suburb has a really good walkability rating. I got 82 out of 100.

There are a few problems with the rating though. Obviously it’s only as good as the information it can get on the web, and therefore it can be out of date, or miss a fabulous local resource that has no web-presence, but it’s still good. Strangely, my report came up with a heap of ‘grocery stores’ that I have never used, including one I’d never heard of, and missed the very very large market a 15 minute walk from my house, which is where nearly everyone around here actually shops. So it would probably be a good improvement if the test included markets.

The category ‘schools’ does include childcare centres, but doesn’t include the whopping great big university, only 20 minutes or so walk, that many residents of my suburb study or work at. Nor does it note the hospitals, which are also major employers. It doesn’t ‘see’ the friendly pharmacy a block and a half from my house, because they don’t have a web-presence, but it did tell me about several druggists a little further away. Sadly, it also told me that I have a bookstore in my local shopping strip. I don’t. It closed down and turned into a cafe several years ago and it still makes me sad, although I consider all the bookshops in the city walkable and can find anything I’m likely to want to read in a nearby suburb. The test is a little disconcerting, I felt like I needed to give this ‘tourist’ some directions, I read the list of amenities thinking “No, no, no, you’d walk past three x’s to get to that one”.

Still, it is good to give you a list to think about if you’re considering moving.

Update: For the amusement of Australians, the test includes the category ‘bars’, naturally this picks up ‘milk bars’ as well as pubs. For foreigners, ‘milk bars’ do not serve booze, they sell bottles of milk, loaves of bread, lollies, and usually some emergency supplies in small packets (tampons, nappies, a few very sad looking carrots, that sort of thing).

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