The goal of the Walkable Neighborhood Project is to help build thriving neighborhoods where people are active and healthy, and businesses and families grow. The project will address a key piece of neighborhood vitality. That is, how easy, safe, and pleasant it is to get out of the house, meet neighbors, and walk to various destinations. To put it simply: How walkable is each neighborhood?
Our objectives are to build citywide attention to the value and urgency of walkable neighborhoods, and to attract public and private investments to improvements that residents identify as needed.
Three tools will be utilized to complete this project:
The Active Neighborhood Checklist: College students and volunteers will assess neighborhoods block-by-block to determine baseline information regarding environment. They will observe characteristics such as sidewalks, traffic, land use, and other indicators of safety and walkability. Missouri State University will provide 300-400 students, with additional help from Evangel and neighborhood volunteers. The data collected from the checklists will be compiled and analyzed by our external evaluator and we will receive a thorough report of the findings.
Resident Input: Residents will be encouraged to write suggestions for their neighborhoods on big green billboards during community events. Resident input is valuable in determining needs and their participation is important to this project. Suggestions gathered from the billboards will also be included in the final report.
Photovoice Missouri: Middle and High School students will be encouraged to participate in Photovoice Missouri, a statewide program that engages students in their communities. Students will take pictures in their neighborhoods and then write captions for each photo with a focus on healthy lifestyles. Photos will be entered into a contest and will be displayed here in Springfield in the Spring of 2014.
The official Project Kickoff occurred July 15, 2013 during an event for various community and city leaders. Since then, green billboards have been appearing in neighborhoods, giving residents the opportunity to request improvements for walkability. In September 2013, college students and volunteers will begin evaluating neighborhoods based on the Checklist. In October, the Photovoice MO project will be underway, with middle and high school students participating.
The project will culminate in 2014 with a written report and recommendations for city and community leaders, and citizens, to make our neighborhoods more walkable and safe.
Your suggestions to make Springfield more walkable are welcome on this site. Please share your ideas, and be sure to include a location, such as a street name, intersection, or neighborhood name. These suggestions will be included in the final report next year.