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Thursday July 7th 2022

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That's what she said

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Switchboard | For walkable cities, it’s not about the density – it’s about finding the right kind of density


“A few days ago, I was reviewing some good work by colleagues describing NRDC’s advocacy for sustainable cities. The original draft stressed that dense living is the way to go. Wherever the word ‘dense’ appeared, I crossed it out and substituted the word ‘walkable’. Not only is ‘walkable’ a much friendlier word; it also captures so many more of the things we need to make the places where we live and work more sustainable and livable.

“Consider: Los Angeles is one of the densest cities in America; the godawful tangle of sprawl that is Tysons Corner – the prototypical ‘edge city’ in suburban Virginia – is reportedly denser than downtown Richmond; the horrors of Cabrini Green in Chicago and other decrepit tenement towers were plenty dense. We need density for sustainability, yes, but it needn’t be uniformly high density, and if it isn’t people-friendly (and I’ll get into that), we will make things worse, not better.

“Even ‘walkable’ doesn’t get us all the way there, because we also need city neighborhoods with nature, culture, good schools, green technology and green infrastructure. I’m not sure I have a single word that captures the whole gestalt. But ‘walkable’ gets us closer than ‘dense’ to describing a sustainable city.”

Read the entire post at Switchboard: For walkable cities, it’s not about the density – it’s about finding the right kind of density

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One Response to “Switchboard | For walkable cities, it’s not about the density – it’s about finding the right kind of density”

  1. Zane Selvans says:

    A thousand times yes! Density is necessary but not by any means sufficient. If it’s not walkable and human scale, then there’s no point. Looks like the book is available from Wyoming via Prospector

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