Through "walk audits", Burden analyzes the safety of streets and advises changes in design, speed limits and streetscaping to improve the pedestrian experience.
"For the past century, city streets have been designed to ease automobile traffic flow. But in recent years, sustainability and livability have become buzz words as policymakers seek ways to reduce congestion and pollution and improve the health of residents. They have become increasingly aware that getting more people on the street boosts public safety, raises property value and brings in more businesses.
In and around Los Angeles, where cars outnumber people on the streets and freeways and multi-lane roads divide neighborhoods, efforts are under way to reverse the refrain "Nobody Walks In LA" that was sung by the 1980s band Missing Persons. They include a plan to make over Figueroa Street, a major downtown artery for vehicle traffic, for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders.
Burden has made several visits to Southern California, including stops in San Diego and Santa Monica, to conduct walk audits. The concept is simple, and the former National Geographic photographer from Port Townsend, Wash. makes it known he has no special training in street design."