Archive for August, 2012


College Street near Dufferin, downtown Toronto

Walkable neighbourhoods are becoming widely recognized for offering many health and economic advantages. However, in order to reap the full benefits of car-free living, it is vital to understand that distance, safety and access are only part of the recipe for success.

Boring, repetitive streetscapes make even a short walk unappealing – whether you are in the city or the suburbs.

There are three deadly M’s that contribute to a negative walking experience: Monotonous, Meaningless and Mundane design.

By contrast, The Atlantic Cities, in a recent article, ‘Walk Score’ Is Great, But it Still Doesn’t Capture ‘Walk Appeal’ reports on a new diagnostic approach that helps people assess the qualities of a walk-worthy neighbourhood.

Walk Score is a terrific tool, as far as it goes. But we need other ways of quantifying walkability on our nation’s streets. The architect and urbanist Steve Mouzon is working on just such a measurement. He calls it Walk Appeal, and the idea behind it is something that we all know but don’t often acknowledge: A mile in an American suburb is a lot longer than a mile in Rome,” says The Atlantic Cities.

And blocks of identical, pseudo-Victorian or faux-Cape Cod row houses anywhere (including downtown) are looooong blocks.

New housing in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan


Variety is the spice of life:

How can new housing provide a more interesting walk?

How can it encourage expression of different personalities?

-Sharon VanderKaay

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