When It Comes to Our Communities: Are We Fair-Minded or Afraid?

Part of my work to make communities nationwide more walkable and livable is to help untangle conflicting values. We love and value families, children, safety, beauty, the outdoors, open space and nature. We want solid home prices, strong schools and neighbors who watch out for us. But then, for some reason, we resist the things that support these values. And we oppose efforts to make our neighborhoods more inviting, more comfortable, more livable. Let me be honest: I personally dislike …

5 Things That Make Your Town Walkable

People worldwide want to live in a town/city that is walkable. Places that seek to become more walkable and livable – everyplace from Maui to Abu Dhabi, where the prince has declared that he wants his city to become one of the five most livable in the world-must invest in the features that make it happen. But what are these features? I’ve picked five that some cities are bringing back.

Living In Place

My mother lived to be 93, and was able to live in place. I feel that she lived an extra five to eight high-quality years because we never had to take her from her neighborhood and friendship circle. This was a precious gift to our entire family. My wife Lys and I were able to import her parents to our neighborhood in Florida, and we watched over them for a full decade – the quality end-game of their lives. One …

Walking Audits: Born Out of Necessity

Necessity truly is the mother of invention. About 20 years ago, I found myself at a disadvantage with my engineering counterparts in the Florida Department of Transportation. I was reviewing plans for an intersection and I realized many of the elements that support people, not just cars, were being left out. As I spoke, the engineers’ eyes glazed over. I said, “My ideas aren’t coming across, so let’s take a walk!”

What Is a Complete Street?

Like many people my age, it’s easy for me to put off the thought of setting aside the car keys one day. But recently, and especially with the snowy weather in my town lately, it’s been on my mind. As I traveled the nearly deserted streets of Port Townsend, Wash., by foot last week and noted that cars were slow and drivers courteous, I thought about the country’s need for “complete streets.” You may have heard this term before but …

Improving Towns One Walk at a Time

Throughout the year, even yesterday, my birthday, I get together with residents and leaders of communities to do something that is too rare these days: walk. And not just to walk for fun, but to help people see their streets through a new lens, one that focuses on how street design either supports or discourages active living and active transportation. Usually during these “walking audits,” as we call them, curious motorists gawk at the strange sight of people actually – …