"We often blog on the benefits of nature integrated into urbanism and wellbeing outcomes of walkability. The real trifecta is when walkable urbanism, human-scale architecture, and nature come together via placemaking. A recent study from the University of Warwick points out that a scenic view delivers equal health benefits to access to nature: “Cohesion of architecture and design boosts people’s health and happiness, not just the number of parks and trees.”
"It's nice to be outside and among nature, especially this time of year. For urban residents, access to nature is particularly important because it's not as easy to come by. And the way we provide nature in cities is through true parks, not greenspace."
"It’s pretty easy to destroy a walkable place. We’ve been doing it for so long, it’s almost second nature. First, prioritize auto travel. Require every new building to be surrounded by lots of parking; and require every new street to be designed for high-volume, fast-moving traffic. Second, designate separate areas for people to live, work and shop, and don’t allow any of these “uses” to mingle. Third…. Well, actually, the first two will do it."
"A literature review yielded a list of 51 perceptual qualities of the urban environment. Of the 51, eight were selected for further study based on the importance assigned to them in the literature: (1) imageability, (2) enclosure, (3) human scale, (4) transparency, (5) complexity, (6) coherence, (7) legibility, and (8) linkage.
By considering these qualities, researchers, planners, and policy makers can better understand the relationship between physical features of the street environment and walking behavior and, as a result, they can develop more effective urban design planning solutions for creating quality pedestrian environments."
"A growing body of research over the last several decades has shown the connections between “place” and health, and it is well documented that a person’s zip code can be a more reliable determinant of health than their genetic code."
"This report uses placemaking as a holistic framework for creating healthy communities. As both an overarching idea and a hands-on approach for improving a neighborhood, city, or region, placemaking is a collaborative process for reshaping the public realm—a community’s streets, parks and other public spaces—in order to maximize shared value."
"Over the past several years, we have seen a new, decided focus in many American cities of all sizes on redeveloping and renewing their cores, reversing trends toward suburban growth that isolated residents and crippled once-vibrant downtowns that often served as a city’s heart and soul.
One key way this transformation is happening is through the building of new urban parks and public spaces in the city center. These “front yards” are not simply green relief from asphalt, concrete, and hardscapes. They are spurring connections among residents, promoting education, and equally important, driving economic growth and community development.
Yet, one of the great challenges is how to develop these vital parks and public spaces without straining government budgets. While these spaces are proving their worth as community and economic drivers, there are equally important investments in many other areas that also must be funded from tax dollars. An effective solution? Private funding and management."
"Today, I’d like to consider Beuvron-en-Auge, deemed one of the most beautiful villages in France by Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. In the heart of cider country, the half-timber construction and picturesque Norman streets suggest a timeless beauty that belies the recent struggle for historic preservation and restoration."
"Often when North American urbanists look to Europe for inspiration, we hear complaints that these stories have little relevance within our political and cultural landscape. However, the Beuvron-en-Auge story reminds me of Charleston, South Carolina, with respect to what a visionary mayor can accomplish."