My wife and I purchased our first (and current) home in Glenside, PA, a small community outside of Philadelphia that meets the criteria important to us: access to a good school district and access to public transportation. With bus and train service, small community stores, and schools located within walking distance, our address gets a walkability score of 78—above average for most suburban towns—and we we’ve only ever needed one family car.
Not only does the density of our neighborhood lend itself to being more walkable, the smaller lot sizes enable easy conversion of lawn area to native gardens. Over the years, we have been doing just that—creating a habitat for bees, butterflies and birds within the garden areas of our .17 acre-lot. We source everything from local garden centers, and Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve has many choices for replacement plants. We actually reduced our lawn area to the point where we were able to trade our gasoline-powered mower for a human-powered push mower, thus reducing our carbon footprint and getting a workout at the same time. All we need now is a bit of education to teach our neighbors about the new natural aesthetic.