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How To Use These Effective Formulas On Your Neighborhood

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Something old, something new, and a curveball

Photo by David Skyrius from Pexels

When we’re planning or evaluating a neighborhood, what makes it “good?” Good of course is subjective and usually measured with qualitative data. Trees! Fewer cars? People! Space? White picket fences! Sidewalks?

What if we wanted to try to get just a little more quantitative?

I’ve got 3 formulas I like. I’m not even sure if formulas are the right word. Calculations? When I’m walking around a neighborhood and I say to myself, “I like this”, I do a quick check with these calculations to help me triangulate what I like.

1. Experience Velocity

This is the measurement of how people are moving through space.

Average experience velocity

For every person in the space take the speed they’re traveling at then average it.

If someone is sitting at a cafe table, their experience velocity is 1.*

I say 1 because they had to get there somehow. But more specifically we want to account for people being there. Zero could imply zero people. We want to put a value there. The slowest you can experience a space is sitting or standing still.

On the opposite side. Someone driving by in a car at 70 would have an experience velocity of 70.*

Measure it

Look around and count the people and estimate their speed. 1 — ?. Then take all the numbers divided by the number of people. Boom. Experience Velocity. Experience Velocity is like a golf score. The lower the better.


If I look around and I see 3 people sitting at a table talking, 1 person walking their dog, 2 people on bikes, and 4 cars drove by at posted speed limit of 25. The experience velocity of that space is 12. Estimating that sitting = 1, walking =3, biking =7, car speed limit = 25. 120/10 = 12.*

If I look around a space and I see 1 person walking on the sidewalk and count 25 cars going by at 45, 1 at walking speed= 3, 25 at car speed limit = 45. Experience velocity = 43.*...

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