The fact that more home buyers are looking for a walkable location isn't exactly a secret, and more developers are baking that trend into their master-planned or mixed-use communities. 

In a recent study, Dr. Reid Ewing, director of University of Utah's Metropolitan Research Center, tried to define what specific features made people want to get up and walk around. Ewing's team walked 588 New York City blocks--four times each, no less--to identify 20 physical features of neighborhoods, each relating to at least one of five urban design principles: Imageability, enclosure, human scale, transparency, and complexity.

Of the 20 physical features identified, Ewing found three were statistically significant:

The presence of street furniture, which includes benches, trash cans, newspaper boxes, and street lights, “increases the complexity of the street.” A high percentage of windows at street level provides a feeling of transparency, and makes for interesting walking. The more “active street frontage”—things that are interesting to people on foot, like shops, restaurants, and parks—the better.

While these tips may come from dense urban neighborhoods, they're still important to keep in mind. Giving people a small, walkable community outside of the city where they can still get their 2,500-square-foot house is a huge bonus. 

Read more about the report from WIRED's Alex Davies here >>