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'Walkable cities' are what we need in this climate change era

Most governments around the world are hard at work getting people out of their cars to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality in urban spaces.

By palaktripathi
New Update
walkable cities

Most governments around the world are hard at work getting people out of their cars to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality in urban spaces. To do this, governments are increasingly promoting alternative forms of transportation by increasing public transit, bicycle infrastructure, and walkability between community assets. However, globally people are also building cities for another 3 billion people.

Read more: Ten environmental benefits of walkable places | CNU 

The urban environment is doubling at a rapid pace. Therefore, the need for better, sustainable cities is very important. Walkability is one of the factors that can help us fight climate change, by reducing emissions, and keeping us healthy.

Read more: Walkable cities are better cities - Arup

Fewer cars on the road

Building amenities within walking or biking distance of residential areas can decrease the amount and length of car trips that are needed. Therefore, decreasing the number of carbon emissions and other pollutants that come out of a car’s tailpipe. If shorter distances are covered by bicycles or walking there will be significantly fewer cars on the road.

Read more: Walkability and Its Relationships With Health, Sustainability, and Livability: Elements of Physical Environment and Evaluation Frameworks

A study in London, United Kingdom, indicated that nearly 42% of short car trips of less than 3 miles could be substituted by walking or biking. Furthermore, the estimated CO2 emissions reduction in such a case was measured at 2.8 kg CO2 per person per week, an equivalent of 10.9% of all car travel. Since the inhabitants can easily walk to all they need on a daily basis. Hence, walkable communities will encourage fewer car trips, which will help reduce air and noise pollution. Additionally, with fewer vehicles on the road, towns may develop additional green space. And, the green spaces will help with cleaner public spaces and a habitat for birds and animals in the cities.

Read more: Walkable neighborhoods provide health, environmental and financial benefits - The Washington Post 

Walkable neighborhoods |
Walkable neighborhoods | Courtesy: Flickr

Heath and Happiness

A healthier and safer population is more likely to be a more productive and happy society. According to experts, walking can halve the risk of heart disease, and help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, even some cancers, and even slow cognitive decline in adults – especially those with existing conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Walkable and better-designed cities will also be inclusive for people with disabilities, as resources for them will be integrated within the urban design. Pedestrian safety especially for elders and children will be ensured as more bicycles and people will be on the streets not cars. For example— the city of Barcelona reclaiming streets for people rather than cars. 

A great method to cut emissions while enhancing the quality of life for citizens is to make cities more walkable. The social community and local businesses also blossom in the community.

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