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:
- a reason to walk
- a safe walk
- a comfortable walk
- 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.