30 September 2009

Two Views of Density and Driving

Consider how a pedestrian could navigate each of these urban layouts - one is more permeable than the other! A good walking environment is about more than density - its about whether its desirable to walk, of which density is one influencing factor, along with good design, safety, shade/shelter and the general quality of the urban environment...

Of course it takes time to redesign a city and roll back sprawl - that's why we can and should start now! Ecocity Builders has been working on the 'how-to' of this for decades...

Excerpt from Worldchanging, 29 September 2009

'...neighborhood design exerts a powerful influence on how much driving we do. Living in a mixed-use neighborhood - with a mixture of single family homes and multi-family housing, with some stores, transit, and other services nearby - might cut the average person's driving by perhaps a third to a half, compared with car-dependent sprawl.

Living in an even more compact urban neighborhood, with lots of stores and jobs within walking distance, might cut per capita driving by a half to two-thirds, or perhaps more.

At the level of an entire metropolis, the effects of compact design can be signficant...

And yet the study also notes that land use can't change overnight...[but] the fatalistic view of land use - essentially, that changing land use is just too much hard - is not merely unhelpful, but unethical. Rather than bemoan how hard it is to make progress, I'd rather buckle down and get to work.'

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