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Old 10-02-2014, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,763,081 times
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I think it's partly a branding thing. Pedestrian-focused is too long, walkable is a nice (relatively) short word. Plus I think more people know what is meant by that, at least the people who are interested in walkable neighbourhoods do.

But there's basically 3 things.

1. Is it safe to walk? Typically this means safe from car traffic although I guess you can include crime too.

2. Are there places to walk to?

3. Is it enjoyable to walk?

(1) is not too difficult to resolve and is often not the main issue in the USA, although there are places like the cities of India where it's more of an issue and (2) might not be an issue.

If you don't have (2) people will only walk for recreation.

If you have (1) and (2) but not (3) some people will walk for non-recreational purposes but mostly just those who struggle to afford to drive.

(3) can be important depending on what your goals are. Some things influencing that could be for instance cleanliness and not too much noise. But I think you also want the walk to be interesting, so that people will actually look forward to walking. I think the presence of other people can make a walk interesting, as can varied/diverse landscapes, both natural and man-made. Not all landscapes with greenery are interesting though, I would say that something like this is pretty boring (especially if devoid of people).

https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.77710...Wg!2e0!5m1!1e3

I'm not sure what the fuss about Rome is. Although I think it does have some good things going for it in terms of walkability, I don't see it as the best example. It wouldn't hurt if it had more street trees, parks and the like. But I don't think those have to take up a huge amount of space to represent a significant improvement.

Guangzhou might not be the first city that jumps to mind when you hear about street trees, but it does have many, often creating a canopy over the entire street.

KotaStar: June 2010
The alleys have street trees too.

Guangzhou's Renwei Temple and Nearby Neighborhood - Isidor's Fugue

Also Eguisheim, France

Eguisheim - Photo #2

Greece (Croatia has lots of Bougainvillea and other small trees in similar settings in its old towns too)

- Greece – | dew-ish

Montreal (New York is similar)

http://www.mwtech.com/rw/photos/Cana...t%20Street.jpg

Also, is it better to have 200 acres of impermeable surfaces spread across 500 acres (fairly typical suburbia) than 100 acres of impermeable surfaces spread across 125 acres (fairly typical dense historic city) from an sustainability point of view?
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
...Also, is it better to have 200 acres of impermeable surfaces spread across 500 acres (fairly typical suburbia) than 100 acres of impermeable surfaces spread across 125 acres (fairly typical dense historic city) from an sustainability point of view?
Depends upon what one is trying to "sustain". That's why "sustainability" is an equivocal term.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:27 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,567,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
If estimating the number of parking spaces needed based on the number of tables in a restaurant isn't based on mathematical principles ...
It's an equation--but not one that is necessarily an accurate reflection of parking demand. It's an arbitrary number that treats a restaurant in a densely populated urban neighborhood (that is likely to have more foot-based traffic and nearby street parking) the same as a restaurant in a shopping center without much nearby residential (that is likely to need more parking spaces and less street parking.)
Quote:
I agree this is a great idea. Landowners can be so territorial with their parking, when there's really no need.
A lot of this "walkability" stuff is just figuring out ways to encourage folks to be neighborly.
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What I'm getting from IC_deLight's posts is a reaction to the irrational premise that an expanse of lawn or a long building is not "interesting" enough to be walkable.
Well, people are irrational. Generally people don't like crossing large, open areas--if you look at a big civic plaza or large field in a park, people tend to travel along the edges and close to objects and cover vs. walking straight through the field. Some think it may be based in old "caveman" instincts where being caught out in the open meant a higher risk of being eaten by a predator, but whatever the cause, people seem to do it, whether it makes sense or not. And people seem to like a public space with the proportions of an outdoor "room," with enclosure on either side and something above (often tree cover.) They just seem to feel more comfortable, walk more comfortably and slowly, and linger. Part of the "science" of urban design is observation of human behavior, even when the behavior is unconscious. Big lawns, unchanging street facades, big parking lots etc. tend to be places that are uncomfortable for people to walk, so they don't walk there. Whether it's "rational" or not is irrelevant, it's just what people do. And changing the physical world around us is generally easier than changing human behavior (although that happens too...)
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:37 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,005,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
If estimating the number of parking spaces needed based on the number of tables in a restaurant isn't based on mathematical principles ...
The ratios cities use to determine required parking for any given use are best guesses. If you actually ask a planner, the answer often seems to be a lot of vague descriptions of assumed demand, usually exactly or vaguely based on some ratio put out by the APA. The APA's numbers have been based on terrible data on the peak annual need for freely provided parking. It is a scientifically unsound measurement through-and-through.
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Depends upon what one is trying to "sustain". That's why "sustainability" is an equivocal term.
So what is it that one would be trying to sustain in a sprawling car dependent suburb?
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:58 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
Laughable link.

The website calls itself "original green" and purports to teach "common-sense, plain spoken sustainability"
Now it's not quite clear how narrow buildings, buildings crammed up to the street, or nothing but concrete and brick is "green" or "sustainable" but apparently it's all about the people walking as opposed to the people that actually reside there.

The article compares an aerial view of two locations: the left is termed a "power center" and the right is an aerial of Rome. The Rome picture shows a sea of rooftops and virtually no green. The "power center" has acres and acres and acres of green nearby and yet is repeatedly dissed as less desirable than Rome. Funny how an "original green" site preaching "sustainability" would tout the virtues of a masonry & concrete desert.

"Tips" such as "[n]arrow storefronts change the walkers' view frequently, which is more entertaining than long blank walls or long stretches of the same building" illustrate that this is all about the personal aesthetic viewpoints and "entertainment" of casual passers-by. If anything your site reference confirms my earlier statement.
Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
"Green" in the context of sustainability doesn't really have anything to do with the "green" of suburban lawns.
Well, that's obvious. Many urbanists on this forum actively oppose street trees, parks and the like. I had one argue with me about trees providing "natural air conditioning" and using up CO2. Talk about being detached from your environment!
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,533,646 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Agreed!



Well, that's obvious. Many urbanists on this forum actively oppose street trees, parks and the like. I had one argue with me about trees providing "natural air conditioning" and using up CO2. Talk about being detached from your environment!
False, false, false, false, false, false. You keep relying on this false idea and you keep suggesting this even though it isn't true. This "urbanist" actually loves trees and think they are important to have lining streets. There should be trees lining every street.

Of course this thread is about walkable spaces, so I am not sure what your false post about trees has to do with walkable?
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:20 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,989,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
The subject was "What makes a place or space walkable?". I provided an answer that noted that the answer is at the subjective whim of the observer.

You appeared to not like the answer. You cited the article and provided the link in rebuttal - not me.

As far as "environment" - you absolutely are talking about "the environment". You specifically expect a particular environment all around you and you try to define that environment in terms of "walkable" or "not walkable". Your "walkable" appears to mean retail/concrete/masonry desert (i.e., nothing but) - after all your article cited one as the epitome of "walkable".
It's not really subjective, one could objectively measure how many people do walk. There are far more people walking in the Roman view than the power center and for longer distances. One is where people walk, the other not. The power center development also takes up more land per person, it's not really more green, as more natural space is used up and more resources are used to transport people longer.

I don't however, agree with much of the logic behind the link.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:43 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,989,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, that's obvious. Many urbanists on this forum actively oppose street trees, parks and the like. I had one argue with me about trees providing "natural air conditioning" and using up CO2. Talk about being detached from your environment!
Ok. What do street trees have to do with lawns?
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:46 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Ok. What do street trees have to do with lawns?
They're both green. They're both living plants. Some people on this forum have a beef with grass, too. It's found in parks.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 10-02-2014 at 09:59 PM..
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