Why Don't We Allow Designers to Create Cites for People?

Cars kill us and drive us crazy; while walking and biking improve our mental and physical health. So why do we design our cities for cars, asks Jeffrey Tumlin.

"Cities have policies that sound good on paper, calling for mixed-use development and walkable neighborhoods, but they also have detailed technical design requirements that don't let that happen," says Tumlin. "Instead, we end up with typical sprawl: it's actually illegal to build anything else."

"When we know that driving makes us fat, sick, dumb, mistrustful, and more likely to die early—but walking makes us fitter, stronger, better able to handle complex reasoning, more loving, and more trustful, why are we in the transportation world spending all of our effort designing around the needs of the car and not walking or biking? When we know the effects of driving on climate change, how could there be any argument?"

"Right now, engineers make many decisions based on something called 'level of service'—basically, how long cars are delayed at certain points. Our goals should be based on people, not cars," he argues. "Right now, a busy commercial street would be judged a transportation failure even though it’s a social and economic success. We need to change the way we measure, so designers can make the right decisions."

Full Story: How Better Urban Design Makes Us Healthier, Happier, and Sexier


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