Opening day of the Millwood Farmers' Market was lots of fun. I especially like all the people walking from their homes to come to the market. Come to find out that www.walkscore.com rates Millwood as a great community for walkability (74 out of 100). My neighborhood on the other hand gets a lousy 5 out of 100 score. Must have to do with the lack of buses and businesses in proximity. Downtown Spokane gets a whopping 91 out of 100, a "walker's paradise" as they call it.
They've got some interesting interpretive material on why walking matters. One benefit they say is:
Increased social capital: Walking increases social capital by promoting face-to-face interaction with your neighbors. Studies have shown that for each 10 minutes a person spends in a daily car commute, time spent in community activities falls by 10 percent3.
I like the phrase, "social capital". It sums up a big part of our efforts that have been hard to put to words. Somehow it's about building generative relationships and friendships that lead to a better life and a better community.
One example of this for me, is while I'm out in the garden many people wander by and we get to talking, and more often than not I ask them if they want a tomato plant. The greenhouse is brimming with tomato plants, some with tomatoes already on the vine, so it's a natural thing to share them. I find that when we put ourselves in the way of other people, things happen; friendships are built, encouragement is received and given, trust is built, and on and on. When we don't put ourselves in the way of others, we lose out and the community loses out as well.