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7 Principles For Remaking Our Cities Livability

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

A summary of the future of transportation in urban life from ITDP

I stumbled across this pdf called, “Our Cities Ourselves — The Future Of Transportation In Urban Life.” It’s a 23-page document. There’s a couple of gems here. Specifically their 8 principles for how we can remake our cities' livability.

Develop Neighborhoods That Promote Walking

Shorten street crossings

Crossing five-lane highways are daunting. We’ve all done it, and we feel out of place. When considering neighborhoods that promote walking 20’s plenty.

Emphasize pedestrian safety and convenience

Who are we building for? Humans or cars? Every journey starts and ends on foot. Prioritize those points of the journey and more people will start walking.

Encourage ground level activity and places to relax

Walking doesn’t have to be the “up-hill both ways in the snow” vibe. It’s more fun when you walk with others. The family enjoying a picnic, a couple chatting on a bench, the kids playing football. Walking can social as much as it is functional.

Prioritize Cycle Networks

Design streets that emphasize cycle safety and convenience

Engineer’s canned response, “If there were people biking we’d build bike lanes and trails.” Maybe no one is biking because there’s no opportunity to do it? If you can incorporate safe biking and convenience we can make more livable cities.

Provide secure parking for public and private cycles

If someone does happen to bike from point A to point B, they need a place to park. Reduce the time, energy, and space storing cars. Figure out how to store some bikes.

Create Dense Networks Of Streets And Paths

Create dense public street and path networks that are highly permeable to pedestrians, bicycles, and transit

“If windows are the eyes of the street, then doors are the arms and legs” — David Sim

So many of us have to drive our cars so we can access a place to bike. So many of us have to drive to a place so we can walk. Similar to a computer network the more nodes you have, the more opportunities to move data efficently. Build your infrastructure like a network.

Create auto-free streets, alleys, and greenways to encourage non-motorized travel

There’s a difference between human scale and car scale. Build for human scale. Removing automobiles from the equation makes it much easier.

Support High-Quality Public Transit

Ensure frequent, fast, and direct transit service

Frequency is essential.

Establish at least one high capacity, high-speed transit corridor with dedicated transit lines within walking distance for 80 percent of the population

As you build your community network, consider how airlines run their business with the hub and spoke model.

Locate transit stations, homes, jobs, and services within walking distance of each other

Build the community network in a way so that someone could do it without a car. Because if a car is required for even part of the journey, people will just use it for the entire journey.

Plan For Mixed-Use

Plan for an optimal balance of housing, commerce, incomes, and services

Mixed-use developments might seem like a new concept but this is another example of us reaching into the past to inform the future. Back before zoning, mixed-use was the way. The idea of combining multiple uses closely together.

Provide a variety of accessible parks and open space

Mixed-use should include mixing how people can socialize in public. Sit, Stand, Walk, Run, Play. Variety is the spice of life and the secret to a livable urban area.

Create Compact Regions With Short Commutes

Reduce sprawl by focusing development in areas adjacent to and within existing developments

Infill development can help make compact regions a reality.

Co-locate jobs and housing within short commuting distances

Related to mixing uses, short commutes create more time for people. If there’s one thing everyone could use, it’s more time.

Increase Mobility By Regulating Parking And Road Use

Limit parking to discourage driving during peak traffic periods

There’s a high cost to free parking, and using basic market forces can help change behavior.

Adjust car use fees by time of day and destination

London’s used a congestion charge to help limit the number of cars in the downtown core. If they can do it. You can do it.

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