I keep meaning to link to Jay Walljasper’s E Magazine piece on hometown pride, European style. There’s not a lot new there for people who follow urban planning and such, but it’s both a nice travelogue and a heartfelt argument for making cities more livable. Through a series of examples, he illustrates one basic point: The fact that European cities are more livable, walkable, and generally enjoyable than big American cities is not some fluke of history or geography. It’s the result of conscious community planning, and it could be done here.
My honeymoon took me through London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris. I wish every U.S. citizen could take that same trip — it’s hard to imagine just what a livable city looks and feels like until you’ve been in one. Riding a bike around Amsterdam, in particular, is something everyone should do before they die. It’s amazing to see a whole system of transit where cars are marginalized, just one relatively small and dismissively treated segment. Men in suits, fashionably attired women in heels, parents with babies — everybody rides a bike. It’s just phenomenal.
How about where you live? What’s being done to make it more livable? What do you wish was being done?