Walkability Is About The Experience

Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)
Photo courtesy Brockville Tourism (by David Mackie)

“Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for all people. The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.” This came from the US Surgeon General a few months ago, underscoring the need to create city spaces that encourage walking. 

Susan Henderson, in her planning and urban design blog “Placemakers“, highlights three essential elements of walkability:

  1. A walkable neighbourhood is entertaining and engaging: people to meet with, talk with; things to see and do, even if just watching other people. Flowers and trees make a more comfortable and attractive (and health) place, encouraging lingering and engaging.
  2. Meaningful destinations: frequent small parks and public spaces, places to shop, eat, sit and relax.
  3. Safety: more than just being statistically safe, walkable communities feel safe – sight lines, visibility are good; streets are designed to slow traffic naturally; sidewalks that work.

Read the article, with links to background information, here.

Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.