Walk Score -- city rankings for pedestrians
This web site takes a new slant on city rankings.
It shows rankings for major cities based on the ease of use for pedestrians. One can also create a personal ranking based on a particular address. Results will show distances to amenities such as businesses and services. It will display a Google map based on the address with the businesses identified. The intention is to help citizens reduce dependency on automobiles to carry out daily activities.
For those to whom that is important, this an interesting, potentially a useful tool.
However, the nature of the criterion, walkability for a commuter or shopper, is possible more for urban dwellers than for any other group. Another caveat, although it may change, is that distances are calculated 'as the crow flies', that is in a straight line from starting point to destination. Of course, nobody in an urban, suburban, or rural setting, can walk in a straight line to a market, a bank, a library, or whatever. There is false information included in the database (it claims that in my suburban neighborhood, one of my neighbors is operating a Subway shop!). These factors may be minor to some users, may be crucial to others.
One can join a discussion, vote on criteria to improve the algorithm, and participate in other aspects of the site. It is an interesting site that offers urban dwellers, and potential urban dwellers, an additional method to evaluate or to choose a place to live. It also offers the student of urban life an additional tool for that area of study.