We Are Where We Live

Jeff Speck, author of Suburban Nation, spoke recently at a conference in Winnepeg. 'Just as we have come to recognize that 'we are what we eat', there is a growing belief that 'we are where we live,' says Speck.

"He told the audience that planners once had much greater status in the community than they do today. The original purpose of zoning was to improve health and increase longevity by separating noxious and residential uses. As a result of their zoning bylaws, planners were hailed as heroes; sadly, however, the resulting bylaws and separation of uses have had negative impacts in subsequent years. In some cases, for instance, residential neighbourhoods have been left without shops and commercial services.

His thesis is that planners now have a new opportunity to become heroes once again by helping to avert two pending disasters: global warming and declining health standards. He warned that for the first time in history, North American health professionals fear that the life expectancy of children may be less than that of their parents."

Full Story: City planners have a creative responsibility

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