Walking or biking through neighbourhoods will increase the likelihood that you think positively of that space. A bunch of research has concluded that people have an increase tendency to positively judge an environment when exposed to it using more personal means of transportation. Whereas people who opted to drive a vehicle through neighbourhoods tended to have negative feelings.
The moral of this? If you want to feel like you’re in a positive community all you need to do is not drive through it.
Walkers and drivers had very different reactions. Walkers from the affluent neighborhood had positive things to say about the low-income neighborhood, while drivers held negative views. In general, the affluent neighborhood reacted the most strongly (both positively and negatively) to the low-income neighborhood, while those in the low-income neighborhood rated both areas similarly.
The differences partially confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis, explains Birgitta Gatersleben, an environmental psychology professor and lead author of the study. Generally, humans are pretty good at judging threats or a situation’s trustworthiness in just a few seconds. This is called “thin slicing,” referring to the thin slices of reality we can consume and digest quickly. It comes in handy in the wild, say, if you’re trying to decide whether to approach a pack of lions, or, more realistically, a very angry Apple Care customer.