What is a Complete Street?

Dan Burden, a champion for walkability and Complete Streets has issued a post on AARP’s blog regarding Complete Streets as a necessity for all generations.  Burden states, “If we invest in complete streets now, then not only will we all be happier and healthier as we age, but one day our children will thank us — especially if they don’t have to drive across town, or even a few blocks, to help us across the street.”

IPA’s New Complete-Streets Related Publications

The University of Delaware IPA has two new Complete-Streets related publications that are now available onlineComplete Streets in Delaware: A Guide for Local Governments is intended to help Delaware local governments achieve complete streets in order to provide more balance transportation systems and create healthy, livable environments for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Winter Maintenance of Pedestrian Facilities in Delaware:  A Guide for Local Governments describes how Delaware local governments can improve sidewalk snow removal and winter-maintenance practices in order to foster walking as a year-round activity and safe mode of transportation.

21st Century Housing Preferences

This publication examines a growing preference to live, work, and play in mixed-use and walkable urban environments and the revival of suburban downtowns, also known as “boutique cities.” Driving this trend is the recent mortgage crisis, collapse in housing market, and change in market preferences.  The publication notes that there is a growing demand for new housing located in walkable, transit-served suburban downtowns and a fading demand for detached houses on a large suburban lots.

Preview of Video Series: Designing Healthy Communities

This video provides an overview of the Designing Healthy Communities video series, featuring Dr. Richard Jackson and produced by the Media and Policy Center (MPC). The series focuses on how poor community design and sprawl has given rise to burgeoning health costs and serious public health issues.  The video highlights four episodes—retrofitting suburbia, rebuilding places of the heart, social policy in concrete, and searching for Shangri La.  The series provides a vision for building healthier communities and features communities that have succeeded in creating healthier living environments.

The Designing Healthy Communities four-part series will also be featured on WHYY, Sundays at 2:30 p.m. beginning May 6, see:  PBS stations airing series.

Where the Sidewalk Begins, a Designing Healthy Communities video, features Dan Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.

In this video, Burden conducts a walkability audit and assessment to demonstrate how a community can be better designed for pedestrians.

How Urban Planning Can Improve Public Health

Big-box commercial jumble, lifeless cul-de-sac subdivisions, urban sprawl, deteriorated downtowns, and traffic jams aren’t just sickening sites, but literally may be making Americans sick.  There is a growing body of evidence that suggests how places are designed and built can cause and complicate grave health problems for individuals and whole populations.  This article illustrates examples of how strategies such as New Urbanism and health-focused design solutions can promote walkability, mixed use, connectivity and civic space within communities.

Walkability Raises Housing Values

A recent report, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities,” shows a positive correlation between walkability and housing prices in 13 of the 15 housing market studied.  The study used a Walk Score measure, which reflects the convenience and proximity of having shopping and cultural activities near residential neighborhoods and mixed-use developments. For each one-point increase in a Walk Score, a $500 to $3,000 increase in home values was realized.  The study concludes that there is clearly a market demand for walkable neighborhoods and should be regarded as a measure of urban vitality.