Read date: Jan, 2018

Notes status: incomplete

Walking, The Urban Advantage

  • Millenials are looking for walkable cities and will pay for them, demand will increase rapidly and cities invested in walkable zones will do the best in a competitive market for creative professionals
  • Peak travel time in places that have invested in public transport and walkability have dropped their travel times overall

Why Johnny Can’t Walk

  • Poor and less able are disproportionately disadvantaged by automobile-driven cities, and beyond the age at which they can drive, they struggle to maintain a quality of life, isolation sets in automobile
  • Car-dependent cities have higher rates of obesity and health issues
  • Overcrowded and car-dense cities are far worse than high density living which relies on public transit
  • Deaths linked to cars are higher than many other causes, and cause disproportionate damage to our society in terms of risk, even though we abstract away those risks

The Wrong Colour Green

  • Discusses the environmental damage of the car and how the “green” movement has missed a crucial part of the carbon emission equation in cars, whilst cities pump money into energy-sustainable buildings
  • Fuel efficient and more “clean” cars just encourage citizens to use cars even more, offsetting the benefit of clean cars to the environment almost completely in cities like Sweden with aggressive gov’t subsidies

Ten Steps of Walkability

Divided into four tenets of walkability, which have roughly 2-3 rules each.

  • Highways decentralise and divide city areas, and this has shaped / reshaped many American cities for decades
  • Quick rebrief on induced demand, the concept that as you increase capacity on a road, there’s almost a exactly 1:1 increase in traffic demand as more people expect to be able to drive for a given journey
  • Case studies in removing freeways from city centres around the world and the positive impacts it has on them
  • Note that not all shopping zones / main streets should be pedestrian zones, and many cities even wouldn’t benefit from having them, as most don’t have the relative pedestrian densities required to commercially support a retail space as a pedestrian zone
  • Congestion pricing is hard but can help; blunter instruments like raising oil prices can also work and can work better if you’re beholden to the public
  • Building residential in downtown areas has been hard previously and is integral to a successful walkable city space; make it easier with policies that don’t demand car parking spaces per unit, and help out developers and city planners with easy-to-follow processes
  • Goes through two key ways to combat gentrification in cities without having social housing projects: granny flats and inclusionary zoning (which is requiring % of all housing to fit to a certain pricing criteria)
  • Significant chunk of this chapter is spent talking about parking:
    • Parking is priced way below market cost for it; often subsidized by council and megacorporations which own vast parking lots and shopping malls
    • This parking ends up being built into the developer costs -> tenancy costs -> passed to the end consumer who shops and parks at the “"”free”” parking supermarket (whether they park there or not at all!)
    • Solution to this problem is businesses pay for shared city parking spaces which are well located to all and can handle mixed uses (instead of Big W only parking that remains unused at 7pm, it could be used for restaurant-goers in downtown)
    • Curbside parking is absurdly underpriced compared to offstreet parking garages (often $2-4 p/h compared to the $15p/h in most locations) which not only is unfair but also wrecks havoc on traffic with many people circling around for ages parking for a spot
    • Combine this with congestion / demand based parking prices to ensure 85% occupancy rates at all times
    • Extra money can go towards further improving the sidewalk experience