All meaningful change in our cities requires choosing better patterns, but, more importantly, it begins by rethinking the values and vision of life that are informing our imagination.
What we need—what our towns and cities need—are more people willing to say, “I don’t know,” and, “What do you think?” and, “Let’s figure that out together.”
Starting with our own homes, then moving into our neighborhoods and cities, the challenge is to figure out what resilience looks like and to identify meaningful action in that direction.
The good news: We can get cleaner commutes right now by building cities that are walkable and bikeable. What if commuting by car or truck wasn’t an absolute necessity for so many people?
And, maybe, the South Town Fork Creek neighborhood will eventually be seen as more of a destination, rather than somewhere you speed past on your way to and from downtown.
Even if you do take this study’s results at face value, it’s a stretch to interpret its major takeaway as, “Most Americans don’t want walkable places.”
The fundamental focus in this book is traffic, meaning the movement of people and goods along streets and roads, which is literally the lifeblood, the circulatory system, of any urbanized space.
Only by reaching out to the community at large can we fully understand how a neighborhood connects with the key resources in its midst.
There are people at every part of that spectrum who care about building local resilience. The Strong Towns approach is radical, but not in a way that fits into ideologues’ narrative boxes.
What form should reparations take? How much should they be? Who should pay them? Who should receive them? How should that transfer be made? What will happen if this is done? Would it really help anyone?
One of the early insights of the Strong Towns movement was that the way North American cities have been built since World War II resembles, more than anything, a massive Ponzi scheme.
Well-done, compact cities and towns are incredibly livable and pleasurable, as well as more financially sustainable. Humans are very adaptable and resilient, and the transition to whatever is next should also give us more excitement than sorrow or remorse.
The America of the 50s and 60s is over. The party has long since petered out. That’s a good thing. Let’s clean up and move on to something better.