What makes a street attractive?

What makes a street attractive? What provides the invitation to stroll or linger?  

Is it the placement of trees that line the street, the storefronts which have glass facades revealing what lies inside or the urban furniture that creates an outdoor living room.  Low rise buildings vs high rises, create density while not overwhelming pedestrians with their heights, opening a view of blue sky.  

A great street is all this and more, and even if we can’t exactly describe the magic combination, we know it when we walk it.

Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

Why Walk?

Why Walk?

A monthly column on the obvious and unobvious benefits of walking as a means of transport and for life.

Many moments in our lives, live in our favorite music. So why not start this series of Why Walk? essays with the words of the prolific Prince: “The sun will shine upon you one day, if you’re always walkin’ your way”. Exactly right! The benefits of walking are endless and this featured column will attempt to highlight many of them and motive you, through the words of our writers and guest essayists.

Walking for me is a mission, it is my politics. It is how I learn about the world around me, the people around me and even about myself. It is how I sustain mental and physical health. And I am not alone. Walking is man’s first mode of transport: it should remain our primary mode to get from A to B. This is not about strolling or exercising, but walking as a way of life, as the primary consideration to how to get where we need to be.

What I really enjoy about walking is that walking is free. You do not even necessarily need shoes. If you choose, walking with bare feet is an option for many people. It provides the perfect scale in which to see our neighborhood, our city.

City living promotes this quite nicely, or at least in cities that are developed with people instead of the car in mind. These cities use sidewalks, paths, alleys, all as a continuing network of walkways for people to move through with ease. Good lighting and well-placed greenery as well as mix use buildings, all do their part in supporting walking. As Jaime Lerner so aptly describes, “the car is like our mother-in-law. It is important to keep her in the correct perspective and to not let her run our lives.”

My aim is to get everyone to question, reflect and truly consider where we can augment walking into our lives. It can be as minimal as taking stairs instead of the elevator. Or if you are ambitious, leading all the way towards taking the car out of the equation for daily life and depend on public transport, car pools or, bicycles, to supplement our “walk-commuting” (my term).

Being free of the car and being full of the outdoor elements of Mother Nature frees us from road rage, traffic jams, and/or parking hassles. Walking provides us with the sunshine we need to give us the vitamin D that our bodies crave. After all, “The sun will shine upon you one day, if you’re always walkin’ your way”.

Photo Credit: deathtothestockphoto.com

Elevating City Life