June 14 2013

These Boots are Made for Walking, and so is This City: 4 Benefits of a Walkable City

Nottingham England walkability

“Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.” Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking, struck me with this quote. The European Union has aggressively been working towards a goal of building walkable cities. At the moment, Paris is on pace to reach said goal by 2017. In the United Kingdom, Nottingham, a city with a healthy student population (lacking personal transportation), as well as an elderly collective, could truly benefit from work towards a walkable city.

When thinking about sustainability, a walkable city is well-connected with easy accessibility for tourists, students, and residents, assisting in the revitalisation of the economy. Although the education of residents and the preparation that would be involved to help them through such a radical change would take some time, the benefits of this transformation would be almost instantaneous.

Economic and Environmental Benefits:

More Attractive to New Economy Workers

A Silicon Valley group recently released a report studying the patterns of economy and land use patterns. It was discovered that walkable cities promote interaction – a key staple of new economy dependant on innovation, accessibility, and interaction.

Reduction of CO2  Emissions

Nottingham’s air quality rating is exceptionally low, as scored and reported by the British Sustainability Rating. Limiting the amount of cars on the road would significantly help the environment, as well as help improve the health of residents.

Walkable City Nottingham

Revitalizes the Retail Industry

Urban planners see the advantage of new urbanism, as retailers work to recreate the culture and energy in these rebuilt areas.

Attracts Tourism

When a city’s attractions are less than accessible, hardship is created on the tourist that is dependant on a city’s infrastructure when getting around. By increasing transportation freedom, tourists will have a grander scope of the cities architecture and history.

Pedestrian oriented infrastructure is extremely vital in the outlook of urban planning and, as always, a city’s future in sustainability. What is your city’s walking score? What more could be done to improve the score?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Michael Jenkins

An Oakland, California native, Michael Jenkins is a recent post graduate from the University of Nottingham Business School with a Masters in Business Administration. Jenkins’ interest in urban regeneration and town planning sprouted during a visit to China. It was there that Michael met with firms that combined business consulting with innovative urban designs stimulating economic growth. He believes economic development can be generated through the connections between city council, local business, and education as he saw modeled in China. Currently residing in Nottingham, England, Michael spots similarities between Nottingham and Oakland, as well as opportunities for development and growth. He aims to bring transformational solutions for city improvement. Michael's areas of focus lay within town planning, urban regeneration, and human capital. During his off time, Michael enjoys backpacking, outdoor adventures, vinyasa yoga, and completing items off his bucket list. For more, follow him on twitter @ClaudeMJenkins

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 9:32 am and is filed under Architecture, Land Use, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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