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According to Walk Score, New York is the nation's most walkable city, partly because it was built before the complete dominance of the car, but partly because of concerted efforts to make the streets safer and more interesting for walkers. Janette Sadik-Khan, the city's former transportation commissioner, is quoted in Laura Laker’s Guardian article saying, "We changed the city from places people wanted to park to places people wanted to be – street space to seat space."
Common strategies unite pedestrian-friendly cities around the world. They include slowing down and removing cars to make space for a walking pace. "Melbourne, in Australia, transformed unloved alleyways used primarily for rubbish into its now famous 'laneways' – buzzing outdoor seating for coffee shops and restaurants," Laker writes.
Taking space away from cars and parking also makes places more walkable by improving air quality. "Guangzhou in China has among the highest levels of walking in the world. Redevelopment of the banks of the Pearl River to create an ecological corridor has connected six paths, resulting in 60 miles of greenways," Laker reports.