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What can we do to make cities more walkable?

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Want to save the planet? Start walking.

Yeah, we know. If only it were that easy. For decades, cities have been designed with cars in mind, making it nearly impossible for people on foot to navigate them with any efficiency. "Highways create stark divisions between neighborhoods," says Eve Andrews of Grist in the video above. "To get people walk, [cities] have to take away the incentive to drive." With cities accounting for 70 percent of the world's carbon emissions—and two-thirds of the global population slated to live in them by 2050—better urban design is an imperative, and potentially one of the biggest ways we can ensure a sustainable future.

Check out the video above to see how cities like Portland and Chicago are already getting creative at repurposing old city infrastructure—like turning abandoned railways into pedestrian parks full of bike paths, walking paths and greenbelts. Also, prepare to be astounded at some of the stats that get tossed around by walkability expert Dan Burden in the video, like:

  • Having parks within a walkable distance decreases a community's obesity rate by 50%
  • Walking or biking to work has a calming effect equivalent to a shot of Valium
  • Employees who walk or bike to work are 20% more productive

You'll excuse me, I think it's time to step outside.


Is your city taking any steps to improve walkability or public transit? What do you wish they'd address first?

 

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