Too many of the strip mall/big box parking lots along Rte. 9, Rte. 30 and elsewhere are not only visually unpleasant, but they make it all but impossible to walk from place to place -- even between retail destinations that are only a few hundred feet away. But those design patterns can change! Check out this development vision for a town in Illinois. This 5-picture slideshow starts out with an ugly ocean of asphalt in front of a chain restaurant, and ends with an attractive "walkable design [that] would allow residents to shop with their feet instead of their cars. The revamped shopping center would keep all the same amenities in place and add a sense of community character."
Another scenario from Memphis shows how a few design changes can transform a residential neighborhood with an unappealing pedestrian streetscape into one where pedestrians would love to stroll.
Which version would you rather live, work and shop in? These attractive neighborhoods become possible when developers and town officials keep walkable streetscapes in mind.
(Thanks to my colleague Mitch Betts for the links.)