Two questions, then. First, what about those for whom their community and their work aren’t close together? What’s the sweet spot, having to commute more for work and walk to your life — having to commute more for life and walk to work — having to commute a little less, but for both?
Unfortunately (or fortunately, as someone who has never not lived in a city and loves it), we don’t live in small communities. As a result, the “live close” paradigm — which I absolutely agree with! — just doesn’t always work. Let us take NYC for an example. It’s entirely plausible that someone would work in the Financial District and have their community and/or social life split between the Upper East Side and Greenwich Village, or Astoria and Brooklyn, or any set of neighbourhoods with not only little proximity to each other, but little proximity to the workplace. And, given that it’s NYC, it’s entirely plausible that this same person’s partner could work in Upstate NY, or Midtown, or Harlem. The same holds even for smaller cities (i.e. Boston’s neighborhoods are all over the place, as is everything in Atlanta, Seattle’s a pain to traverse, and the list goes on…)
Second, I completely believe the car commute issue. Especially for those who commute by themselves on a daily basis. How does the commute analysis change for people who either carpool, take public transit, or bike (as another form of outdoor exercise in lieu of walking)? I’m sure it does; in fact, it feels like it must, but the question of how lingers.