Creating livable cities by walking

A city that is both good for people and for the planet is a lot about walking, trees, city ecology and interesting ( and complicated) cityscapes – And very little about cars

Recipes for a walkable city

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

There is a strong connection between walking and well-being – A connection so strong that city-planners more and more use walking as one of the most important design parameters when designing or upgrading cities for better thrive, house prices and to better support local relationships and shops

The recipe is always based on and adapted to the local place and space, and then combined with changing the focus from making the city good to drive in, to make it good to walk in instead.

Walkable city designers and project workers getting an offer from a man with a wheelbarrow full of cars. illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Walkable city designers and project workers getting an offer from a man with a wheelbarrow full of cars

Benefits of walkable cities

Benefits sprouts up everywhere when you do this. Local shops re-open, small parks and trees get the attention they need and people can again hear each other on the streets, visitors starts to arrive and the level of pollution drop together with the levels of loneliness, depression and fear.

Walkable cities are safer for the kids and the elderly and also better for the planet. Because when we don’t drive, but instead rely on local resources, sidewalks and trails, then everybody wins.

Connect the city and the nature around it with trails

Just as important it is for people to be able to move around in the city on foot, it is important for the city to be connected with green corridors to the surrounding nature. This will make it possible for people walk from the central squares and plazas and out to where they can breathe fresh air, relate to each other, to the views, the trees, plants and animals, sleep under the stars and get a break from the hectic urban reality.

These trails are hiking trails and if we connect the cities along a web of them, and back them up with public transport between the cities, we can help support a whole new level of both thrive and sustainability along these trails and in the cities, simply by giving people a chance to take a long walk. Something that is one of the most simple, but best documented health and thrive boosting activities we can engage in.

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