mobility pedestrian walkability

Mobility to Flourish

What message does urban infrastructure send to people? Reading a recent post by Robin Mazumder, in most cities, it would be something along the lines of “we value cars, not people”. And it’s a message delivered with little empathy. Detailing the challenges he’s faced and seen while living a multi-modal life in several Canadian cities, Mazumder questions the extent to which decision-makers, urban planners and designers empathize with people who do not use a car, either by choice or out of necessity. One could also include numerous journalists in this empathy-deficient group. The result? A car-culture where pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities are seen as a normal part of a functioning mobility system. Consider right turns on red lights. Is eliminating a 15 second wait really worth putting human lives at risk for? In many cities, this lack of empathy also leads situations of mobility poverty. Modacity describes it as follows: “mobility poverty exists in a place that lacks a diverse range of transportation opportunities for its residents, particularly in cities that require them to own and operate an automobile in order to exist.” Transportation and poverty are often closely linked. To empower as many residents as possible, a city needs to support multi-modality, from door-to-door. As winter descends on many cities, snow clearance provides a clear measure of how a city prioritizes the various ways that residents get around. Does your city enable its people to thrive?

Mitchell Reardon

Mitchell Reardon is the TH!NK by IBI blog curator, a land use planner and urban experimenter. His interdisciplinary work centres on people and how they live, work and move through the city. Mitchell is enjoying life in Vancouver, after 6 years of living and working in Stockholm, Sweden. Catch up with him on Twitter: @MitchellReardon

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