Walkable Cities and the Environment

You’d think that every city is walk-friendly but unfortunately a lot are not. So, how does this relate to the environment issues going on right now?

Healthier environments usually include the possibility for people to walk and move around without always needing a vehicle. It really is as simple as that. The necessary city designs that make it possible for pedestrians to move from point A to point B walking need to exist from inception. You can’t just design a car-dependent city and then, later on, try to do control-damage because everything will become a mess. Walkable cities are much needed to help preserve the environment, but whether a city is walkable or not really does depend on its geographical location a lot.

 

Which Cities Are Walkable?

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Aleksandrs Muiznieks/Shutterstock

Europe is well-known for its incredibly walk and bike-friendly cities everywhere. It’s also important to remember that walking is closely related to health in more ways than one. Hence, when an entire city makes it possible for its citizens to be active on the daily then the general health of everyone also improves ever-so-slightly. It’s fascinating how some Americans get some sort of culture shock when they live in Europe for a while due to the city designs.

Italy has two of the most walkable cities in the world. Florence and Venice are amazing for anyone who even remotely likes walking. Other European countries have cities at the top of the list like Greece has Athens, Latvia has Riga, Germany has Hamburg, Spain has Madrid, and Sweden has Stockholm, all also have walkable cities as well. The ability to enjoy a city in its full glory does thoroughly depend on the possibility of being able to enjoy things from the ground. That is to say not being stuck in traffic or merely going around by public transport.

Take Florence for example, everything you need or want to see within that city it’s in close proximity to one another. This is why you can visit all of them on foot, and thus that inspires more walking. Ultimately, that walking is only possible because the city is built in such a way. So, all in all, everything is related.

 

Why Some Cities Are Unwalkable

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Shift Drive/Shutterstock

Walking around your own city every day might get you to create new friendships, help reduce emissions, and promote certain boosts of serotonin. So, if all that is true then why are some cities unwalkable?

Firstly, in order for pedestrians to have the possibility and want to walk everywhere then they need to feel safe while doing it. If you’re in constant danger for whatever reason, one big reason being that at times vehicles make it impossible to even cross the street, then you are more likely to also drive a car at all times. Americans in particular both walk and use public transport very rarely. The lack of sidewalks should truly be concerning to every American citizen. This isn’t shocking news to anyone who’s ever lived in some parts of the U.S. where walking often isn’t even taken into consideration when you want to go anywhere.

A sad number of only 6.5% of all Americans walk to work. Most Europeans seem to have figured out something that a big number of Americans have not yet; that biking to work is not only environmentally friendly but also just a lot of fun. However, that’s not to put the blame on individuals because unfortunately in a lot of cities walking and biking to work is simply very difficult. Entire regions are built around automobiles and that naturally makes walking dangerous.

 

There’s no denying that walking is good for numerous reasons. Even if a large number of people choose not to walk that is still beside the point. It’s important for everyone to have that possibility whether one chooses to utilize it or not it’s their choice. Just don’t ever assume that people in any given unwalkable city are choosing not to walk when they could get run over by a car whenever they leave the house.

 

Photo: RossHelen/Shutterstock

 


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