Sunday, August 20, 2017

The problem with walkability!!!!!

I “love” my neighborhood, I am a 12 minutes walk to the café where I write my PhD dissertation. I am 10 minutes away from Safeway and 14 minutes away from Fred Meyer. The bus comes every 15, almost until midnight and it takes around 30minutes to get to downtown. The walkability score is 81. Great!!!! Not so fast. What is wrong with this picture is that if I has a job this would be problematic. Enter the self-sufficient neighborhood.

Walkability is great concept, but assumes the reliance on either walking or using public transport to get to work (when the public transport score is added to walkability), but if I had a job, which I will have when I finish my PhD, then I will probably have to get on public transportation or drive to get to work. Not a unique experience as most Americans still commute to work. What is wrong here is that the majority of office work is located in downtown areas. The current trend of mixed-use buildings, at least in Seattle (where I live), tends to focus on having ground level shops and restaurants and does not take into consideration office space. Perhaps an extension of the idea of walkability, a self-sufficient neighborhood would entail that there will be office space in most neighborhoods. People would not only be able to run their errands while walking, but it would be possible for them to walk to work. If over the next 15 years, a third of the US population worked in their neighborhood that would reduce CO2 emissions tremendously. Moreover, it would contribute to their health, as sitting in traffic is one of the most stressful experiences.  In fact, that is when/where many people get their heart attacks.



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