- Some interesting briefs from Centrelines, the bi-weekly e-newsletter of the
National Center for
Bicycling & Walking. CenterLines is their way of quickly delivering news
and information you can use to create more walkable and
bicycle-friendly communities. Check online for additional stories:
DEVELOPERS FOCUS ON PROMOTING FITNESS
-> According to a June 17th Washington Post article, "Just outside
Washington, on the grounds of an old farm, a new community is taking
shape that researchers think is the kind of place that will help solve
the nation's growing obesity crisis. At the King Farm development in
Rockville, Md., homes are being built, streets are being paved,
sidewalks are being laid, and office buildings, restaurants and stores
are being located in ways that experts say should do one seemingly
simple but crucial thing: get people to walk more. A handful of similar
communities have been sprouting up slowly across the nation in the
first tentative attempts to counter the sprawl of strip malls,
cul-de-sacs and subdivisions without sidewalks that force people to
drive everywhere, which -- along with junk food and super-sizing -- is
believed to be a major reason that Americans are getting so fat.
"'We built communities with no sidewalks, and then we wonder why our
kids don't walk to school. We live in gated communities where the
garage faces the street and there's no connection with the neighbors,
and we don't get out and walk. We drive to everything,' said James
Hill, a weight researcher at the University of Colorado Health Sciences
Center. 'We've created the perfect environment for creating obesity.'
So far, many of the 'walkable' attributes of new neighborhoods such as
King Farm have been unanticipated consequences of decisions that
developers made largely to satisfy housing density requirements or to
make their projects more marketable. But the nation's obesity crisis
has spurred a new movement to purposefully build communities and
retrofit existing ones to make it more natural for people to be
Title: "Developers build walking communities to encourage exercise"
Author: Rob Stein
PEIRCE: "COMPLETE STREETS" PART OF OBESITY ANSWER
-> According to a June 13th Neal Peirce column, "America's obesity
problem is getting worse. The only ray of hope is that many people are
now paying attention, seeking some solution. The most obvious idea is
lots more physical exercise -- getting everyone off their duffs,
starting with kids whose school gym hours have been scrubbed out by
local budget crises and academic pressures. Then there's the companion
pressure to curtail junk foods. A new wrinkle: suggesting it's time for
the federal government to stop subsidizing fat-generating products such
as corn syrup.
"We're also seeing a new push to redesign our communities to get people
out of their cars more often, walking and bicycling again. And now
we're hearing a demand for 'complete streets.' U.S. Health and Human
Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently joined that course,
suggesting 'every road being built -- you should be able to walk on it
or ride a bike.' With 65 percent of the American people now overweight,
31 percent obese, the obvious answer is that we need to start the
reform measures yesterday..."
Archive search: http://www.postwritersgroup.com/peirce.htm
Title: "Obesity Problems Worsen But Solutions Emerge"
Author: Neal Peirce
CNU'S NORQUIST: SPRAWL A 'COMMUNIST PLOT'
-> According to a June 17th Muskegon Chronicle article, "Former
Milwaukee mayor John Norquist never saw the old Muskegon Mall and
hasn't been around to watch its demolition over the past six months.
But as the president of the Congress for New Urbanism, Norquist has the
perfect term for what was done to Muskegon's historic downtown shopping
area. It was 'scraped.' 'What's the best thing do to with a dead mall?'
Norquist said during a recent visit to West Michigan. 'Scrape it.' The
fact that Norquist's term fits Muskegon's downtown situation so well
shows that Muskegon is not alone. Communities all across the upper
Midwest and throughout the country are faced with removing defunct or
"What comes after 'scraped malls' is what the Chicago-based Congress
for New Urbanism is all about. 'New urbanism' is a development
philosophy that aims to keep downtown neighborhoods and shopping
districts to 'human scale,' making them walkable and livable. 'At the
Congress for New Urbanism, we think sprawl is a communist plot,'
Norquist said. But the former Democratic big-city mayor shuns
government handouts in favor of economic development through private
enterprise. 'You can't build a city on pity,' he says of a theme in his
1998 book 'The Wealth of Cities.'..."
Archive search: use "Search" window
Cost: No (but archives appear limited)
Title: "'New urbanism' guru sees hope for city's 'main street'"
Author: Dave Alexander