Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Articles

While I rub my newly shaved head for good luck:

"Energy Corridors" Planned Through National Parks. Sounds like a ruse to drill. Sad state of affairs it is when not only can you not trust the current government, but you fear the opposite of all their public intentions to be true. Seriously though, this is the wrong type of thinking when energy sources (among other (all?) things) must be (re)localized.

Walking and Well-Being: Walking toward Happiness.

A recent international study on happiness by researchers at Leicester University in England ranked the United States as only the 23rd happiest place in the world. Denmark is the happiest, according to the research.

It's probably no coincidence that more than 20 years ago, Denmark set a vision to become one of the best places to walk anywhere. It took a long time to get there, but the Danes apparently are very happy with their results.

One of the reasons certainly, but socio-economic conditions and high levels of education (because it's socialized - ewwww bad word! boooooooo!) play a part as well.

In Silicon Valley communities, most people don't live near where they work. In fact, many of the cutting-edge thinkers and innovators of the region have the worst commute times in the country.

Studies also indicate people are least happy when in their cars, largely because they cannot predict what will slow them down, or when. Thus the long commutes of Silicon Valley have gotten more and more costly, not only in terms of money and time, but also happiness.

I've never been happier in Dallas than I am now.

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, we've designed our communities to move automobiles, not people. Too much is tied to the auto and is out of walking and bicycling range for residents. The happiest places in the world were designed to accommodate and support people, not their cars.
Amen brother! Preach it!

It's really starting to bite us in the ass financially from an individual perspective and economically nationally as well. And not even because gas prices are high and people aren't spending anymore. It's because of the dislocation, loss of spatial efficiencies and synergies of mixed uses and vibrant places. It's because of the lost time and productivity spent idling down a freeway giving the finger to your metal cladded neighbor on a highway to unhappiness.

This article reminds me of when I first moved down here and I also walked to work then (fifteen minute walk rather than the two-minute now). I was struck by how miserable everyone looked in their little metal cages on wheels, envoked pity really. Perhaps, because there are so few opportunities and choices to live in walkable communities here in Dallas (the U.S.) that supply is SO short of demand that costs are out of the reach of the common American. Hence, the article below on Atlanta rapidly gentrifying.