The theory of walkability

You will not hear much about walkability at your local village planning meeting. Conversations of street facing parking, road expansion, and assurances that strip malls blend into the 1920s architecture 1/2 a mile away tend to dominate the discussion. Even though walkability is not often discussed, it is precisely walkability that gives a village character. Seeing those human beings walking around and enjoying the village provides the very fabric of community.

Jeff Speck gave a wonderful Ted talk back in May where he shared his theory of walkability. Jeff’s theory breaks down walkability into four principles that he argues makes a village a destination rather than a high-speed pass through zone. The four principles are:

  1. a reason to walk
  2. a safe walk
  3. a comfortable walk
  4. an interesting walk

Think of these principles when driving around our villages, taking note of places where additional care needs to be provided to fix the haphazard planning of the 1950s.


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