Ninety-seven percent of homes, apartments and condos in Long Beach are within a mile radius of everyday amenities, such as grocery stores, clothing stores and gas stations, according to a research team from the UC Irvine School of Social Ecology’s Metropolitan Fund Initiative.
The team calculated the number of everyday destinations within a mile radius from Southern California's 5 million homes. The study found that in general, residents of older, denser and lower-income neighborhoods and smaller, multi-family homes have the best access.
The close proximity to daily amenities helps decrease the amount of drivers on the road, traffic congestion and lowers carbon emissions.
“Accessibility is how we accomplish [these] social goals,” said Kevin Kane, lead author of the MFI report and postdoctoral fellow in planning, policy and design, in a statement. “In general, smaller, older, multifamily units have better access. However, in each of these cases, there are a handful of cities that don’t follow the trend.”
Los Angeles County has the best access to everyday destinations because it has the smallest, oldest and densest housing in the area, followed by Orange County.
Researchers said the Inland Empire “lagged significantly.”
“There might be 1,000 new residents living on a fairly small piece of land, but if they have a lot of things they need nearby, there aren’t necessarily going to be these congestion impacts that a lot of planning commissions are worried about,” Kane said.
Since the 2008 housing crisis, there has been an increase in construction of multi-family homes across Southern California.
The study was meant to test some of the principles of New Urbanism, an urban planning theory that focuses on environmentally sustainable city designs centered around walkability and reduced sprawl.