Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Happy City


"If you woke up this morning and decided to try a completely different method of getting to work, could you do it?  Could you walk there?  Ride a bicycle? Or catch a bus or a train that would get you there in the time it took to read the paper?  Could you mix and match your modes?  Now take it further.  Does getting to a grocery store or a doctor's office or a restaurant without a car seem like a pretty big chore?  Can your children walk or cycle to school safely on their own?  If you think these are unreasonable questions, then chances are, real choice has been designed out of your city.  You may still benefit from the tremendous utility of your automobile, but the system is impoverishing you and your family and friends in ways you have never imagined.  How do we build systems that truly make us free in cities?"  Charles Montgomery, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design


These are photos of Ben from last summer.  

And the quote is relevant to discussions my husband and I have been having recently, especially in light of a pecha-kucha on walkability he took part in and some work he did with Jeff Speck.  Living downtown, we walk to our destinations quite often.  Also, our city church has recently launched a challenge to the congregation to try a more earth-friendly way of getting to church every fourth Sunday. 

10 comments:

Sara McD said...

We're in the country so this is somewhat irrelevant to my current way of living. We do other things to limit car use.

But when I lived in NYC, after 9-11, when I was determined not to be stuck on the subway with a bunch of panicking people being herded like cattle through tiny escalators and turnstiles, I regularly rode my bicycle from northwestern Queens to midtown Manhattan and home again. This was fifteen years ago and at that time, if you weren't a daredevil bike messenger, it was kind of scary. I used to swing my u-lock back and forth at my side to keep cabs from getting too close. I've heard things have improved some since that time.

Hazel said...

I'm in the country too, but we can cycle to a lot of places, in fact my youngest daughter and I were just saying we should get back into the habit of cycling to her school and my work at least once a week.

The trouble is that the country lanes are used as a rat run, and that makes me reluctant to let the older two cycle to school in the opposite direction by themselves.

BLD in MT said...

Matt and I share a car so we both do our fair share of walking and cycling. Where I live though it doesn't seem a very popular idea. But, more and more people are out there on the cycling lane with me. I always tell people I have my exercise built right into my day--and I prefer it that way.

Polly said...

I love the idea of being able to walk to errands, grocery stores, etc. I notice a lot of people in our nearby city doing just that. When we go to the small town that is closest to us I park the car in one spot and walk from library to store to post office to bank with the children, instead of driving to these different places (which are only a couple of town blocks apart!). The town is tiny enough for this to work well. The big city nearby is more inefficiently designed for walking purposes.

We cannot get anywhere from my house without a car, so I am VERY organized with errands. I basically stay home Mon/Wed/Fri and run city errands tuesday and town errands Thursday (that's where we do our walking!).

Polly said...

I also LOVE your church's challenge!!!

Lana said...

We live out and to go anywhere is on a highway or 6 lane interstate which is not safe. My husband has a 35 mile commute through the next city and out the other side. There is no way for us to go anywhere but to get the in the car and drive.

We have lived in town one time for a very short time and it was fun to walk to the grocery store and the park. I don't see us living in town again since we love our paid for home and 2 1/2 acres of woods.

Becky said...

Our city has a public transportation system that for years has been on the verge of being useful. I used to use it regularly before I had a child, but not so much since. Thankfully, we do live within walking distance of many businesses we like to frequent and the last few years, we were lucky enough to live 2 blocks from my daughter's school. Now that she attends the middle school on the other side of town,we miss being able to walk up to events at the last minute.

Wendy Janzen said...

I love this quote. Thanks for sharing it. It is a good springboard for thought. Our small-to-mid-sized city is doing a lot to improve commuter options with bike lanes, bike repair stations, and a new LRT being constructed. We are a one-car family so need to often look for alternatives to driving.

jenny_o said...

I live at the outskirts of a medium sized town, so it's a thirty minute walk to the edge of the business district.I rarely do it, as I have feet issues. I would love to live closer but I also love our quiet street and large yard - things we wouldn't have if we lived closer to downtown.

We used to have buses but they were phased out because they could not be operated at a profit or even break-even. It's truly a challenge to find a way around here without using a car.

Rachel Weaver said...

I really love that your church is encouraging sustainability. I feel like environmental conservation should be a part of faith communities' conversations. So cool.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails