Here at Worldchanging we often talk about the importance of building dense, walkable, well-connected neighborhoods. We like to call these efficient, effective, creative places Bright Green Cities. Here, cars aren't needed because you can walk or take public transport. People use less with little effort because they share resources, like tools and space.
Lately, Bright Green Cities have been receiving a lot of attention as a key to fighting more than just carbon emissions. The Natural Resources Defense Council recently released a report stating that Bright Green Cities could help create real estate stability. Their research team found that many families who avoided mortgage foreclosures lived in dense, well-connected neighborhoods.
Over on The City Fix, they're touting Bright Green Cities as the key to fighting childhood obesity. Author Megan McConville writes that planning and community design are great ways to seamlessly weave exercise into everyday activities. Yet this is essential factor is missing from First Lady Michelle Obama's new plan to fight childhood obesity, Let's Move. McConville writes:
Obviously, Michelle Obama and her task force can’t take on every issue tied to obesity, but targeted active community design strategies can be highly effective ways to integrate activity into the everyday lives of children. For example, “complete streets” and bicycle infrastructure make it safer and easier for kids to bike and walk. Taking public transportation allows for more activity than riding in a car. Traffic calming and design mechanisms focused on pedestrians instead of motorists make streets less dangerous for children. And creating compact, walkable, mixed-use communities with nearby destinations and vibrant streetscapes mean more daily activity for children and their parents, and more open space for them to play in.
Bright Green Cities are quickly becoming one of the best solutions for solving our most challenging problems. Planning and design do what personal responsibility campaigns cannot -- they change the system you live in for everyone. Support Bright Green Cities -- lower your carbon emissions, save money, lose weight, have fun and connect easier!
Hat tip to Sarah Goodyear and Streetsblog for the link to The City Fix.
Image credit: U.S. National Archives
Exercise is good - changing attitudes to
giant size portions of uber-calorie laden food is needed too.
On the side of the Planet - and the people - because they're worth it
i wholeheartedly support 'green' cities - and lived in the rather green city of freiburg as an intern. my wife (dietician) and i went back recently and despite the increased public transportation options and highly walkable city, there were significantly more morbidly obese people. there were also burger kings, multiple mcdonalds, starbucks...
there are some major flaws w/ 'let's go' - starting with the FDAs definition of food deserts.
this money would be better spent on 2 things:
1. bringing back home ec. seriously, no one eats in anymore, and if they do it's processed food. this nation is full of people that don't know how to cook. or manage their books.
2. gym class. as an elementary student, we had an hour of exercise 3 days a week, which always included a 1-mile run. P.E. in america has been cut to the bone, and shools allow those that need it the most, to skip exercise with notes. this has been a recipe for disaster.
no matter how walkable a city is, if the parents don't turn off the t.v./xbox/wii, kids aren't going to play outside.
sometimes it also help if the community is safe for children to get out and play. there should also be a community watch and let the people in that community get involve with the green projects.