Walkable cities

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car – which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” – by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

via Jeff Speck: The walkable city | Video on TED.com

As it turns out, people tend to live healthier, happier, more sustainable and productive lives in walkable cities. Non-walkable neighborhoods, think suburbs, have unprecedented levels of obesity, childhood diabetes, asthma and declining longevity.

Compelling data suggests nothing less than a crisis solved by redesign of how we live. Walkability represents a dramatically significant impact on sustainability than even all common energy management practices combined.

Two possible strategies emerge: making it easier for people to move to and thrive in cities from the suburbs and retrofitting suburbs to actually make walkability more possible. Both will run as long term strategies but the alternatives show no positive promise.