The March Madness of Walkability

Which Sweet Sixteen team stadium is in the most walkable neighborhood?

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Courtesy: Kaid Benfield

If the NCAA men's Division 1 basketball championship were decided on walkability, the Marquette Golden Eagles would be our winner, edging out in-state rival Wisconsin-Madison 95-91 in the final.

In the spirit of continuing what is becoming a tradition (see the versions I did for 2011 and 2010), I took the 16 teams remaining in the tournament and obtained Walk Scores for the arenas where they play their home games. And I played out the matchups, as you see above. The game of the tournament would be an epic national semifinal between the Kentucky Wildcats and Marquette, won by the Golden Eagles by one point, 95-94. In my imagination, I like to think the game went to overtime, and Kentucky had a one-point lead with 2.1 seconds left. Marquette ball. Jae Crowder throws a full-court bullet pass to Darius Johnson-Odom, waiting at the top of the key.  DJO dribbles once, turns, and swishes a jumper for the win as time expires.

Anyway, Marquette wins because the Bradley Center, where they play, is a downtown arena with a "walker's paradise" Walk Score score of 95. Wisconsin's and Kentucky's arenas are also located in "walker's paradises." NC State and Baylor, not so much. Here's the complete breakdown, from least walkable to most:

This post originally appeared on the NRDC Switchboard blog.

About the Author

  • Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More
    Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.