I just stumbled across a fascinating website called www.walkscore.com. Walk Score is an index that grades each town and city on "walkability", or how accessible that various amenities and necessities are if you don't happen to own a vehicle. I had never heard of it before, but I imagine that awareness of it will only grow in the upcoming years for obvious reasons.
I can't imagine that many towns in the U.S. rate very high, and my town is no exception. The town of Medford, NY has a "walkability" rating of 28, and is listed as "car-dependent". It takes me the better part of a mile, through the most detestable and unsightly suburban sprawl, to walk to the nearest Starbucks or to catch a bus. I don't really mind the walk, I just wish it was through more desirable scenery. As a source of comparison, I then checked out Port Jefferson, NY, a town not far from here that I've always been fond of, and it got a "walkability" rating of 75. A full list of locations like supermarkets, bookstores and bars are included in each listing.
My dream has been to be able to live in a place where I don't need a car, where on a Friday or Saturday night, I can actually go out and do something rather than sit in front of the television playing video games. If that actually does come to fruition someday, I imagine that this would be a very helpful website.