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It's no surprise that driving less and walking more can have significant benefits to the environment and our health. Less commonly discussed, however, is the implications to our local economy. Author Amanda Maher reflects on a presentation by Jeff Speck, author of "The Walkable City" and discusses why cities should be rethinking their downtowns. There are four keys to getting residents walking more: (1) having a reason to walk; (2) feeling safe to walk; (3) having a comfortable walk; and (4) enjoying an interesting walk.
When city planners focus on these four areas, cities reap the economic, health and environmental benefits.
It's not easy to create a walkable downtown. The author explains, "It often takes a while to create the momentum for downtown investment, but the downtown is the one neighborhood that belongs to the entire city. The city's reputation hinges on its ability to attract people and businesses to these downtown areas."