- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

World's Most Livable Cities

What do these images have in common?

Reuters shows a Photo slideshow of the top 25 "most liveable cities of the world." Not surprisinging, not a single one of them has images of highways or automobile transport. The fact of the matter is, when thinking about what makes their city great, nobody really cares how fast you can get from one side of the city to the other. Nobody is proud of their auto traffic jams, noise, or drunken or dangerous drivers.

But what these images do have in common is a theme of peace, quiet, and any images of roads are ones that are tree lined and free of cars, roads physically connect people but in a more peaceful and more meaningful way, where there is time to communicate with others. One even has an image of a Velib type bicycle sharing as the quintessential image of their livable city - the new Bixi system in Canada.

Something for all city planners to think about.

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