June 8, 2010

Better streetscapes lead to more walking

Add Scientific American to the list of those saying we need aesthetically pleasing streetscapes to encourage more walking.

Says a recent podcast:
"According to Andrew Furman of Ryerson University in Toronto [http://bit.ly/dr76ot] . . .  in many places in North America it’s just not that nice to walk. But if cities and suburbs put more effort into building better pedestrian routes, he says more people might leave their SUVs at home."

And as I mentioned and Brett commented on a recent post, European cities and towns make much more of an effort at this -- not only with effective transit systems, but with communities designed with walking in mind, not simply driving.

"With its older cities, Europe is more amenable to meandering. Think cobblestone streets and hidden gardens. But North American cities and suburbs are more modern and car-centric, which generally forces pedestrians and cyclists to always take the same, boring path from A to B," Scientific American agrees.

Attractive pedestrian paths aren't a frill. They're vital to get people out of cars and walking from place to place.

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