Walking and Well-Being

Walkable Communities founder Dan Burden believes walkable communities contribute to greater happiness -- and that Silicon Valley has a thing or two to learn from Denmark.

"One measure of quality of life is the level of access we have to the things we value most - jobs, safe streets, affordable transportation and housing, and quality health care, schools and civic spaces such as parks and other gathering places. The ability to walk to many of these places from our homes or places ofemployment generally raises that quality-of-life index. When researchers look for places where people are happiest, it's often in communities where they can live near where they work, walk their children to school and shop at stores within walking or biking distance.

It's probably no coincidence that more than 20 years ago, Denmark set a vision to become one of the best places to walk anywhere. It took a long time to get there, but the Danes apparently are very happy with their results.
Silicon Valley can follow this example. It can leverage its standard of living to increase its walkability and improve its quality of life.

In Silicon Valley communities, most people don't live near where they work. In fact, many of the cutting-edge thinkers and innovators of the region have the worst commute times in the country.

Studies also indicate people are least happy when in their cars, largely because they cannot predict what will slow them down, or when. Thus the long commutes of Silicon Valley have gotten more and more costly, not only in terms of money and time, but also happiness.

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we've designed our communities to move automobiles, not people. Too much is tied to the auto and is out of walking and bicycling range for residents. The happiest places in the world were designed to accommodate and support people, not their cars."

Full Story: Toward walkability - and happiness

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month