How to get America to walk
February 23, 2012 1 Comment
Just a quick post. Holly shared this video with me recently, and I really liked it. It covers some of the design challenges that prevent people from walking and how they can be addressed, focusing on Raleigh, North Carolina. The most interesting thing to me was at the very first, where a guy, under cover of night, put up a number of wayfinding signs that told people how long it would take them to walk to various destinations. Although what he did was technically illegal, the person making the video talked to the city planner, who basically said, “Yeah, he should have gotten a permit, but they’re really cool.”
I’ve recently been talking a lot with David Gouverneur, who I work for, about how to control slum development in South America. The most important thing he said was that cities need to create armatures to encourage growth along certain paths and in certain ways, and use other armatures as barriers to growth. It is the same thing with growth in suburban North America. We have to create armatures that encourage walking (wide and comfortable sidewalks, lively storefronts) and discourage driving (maximum parking requirements, shifting parking lots to the back of the lot).