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Jay Walljasper
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Jay Walljasper's new book is All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons and editor of its website, OnTheCommons.org. He is also a contributing editor of National Geographic Traveler, Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces, an Associate of the Citistates group and the cities columnist for Shareable.net. He was editor of Utne Reader for fifteen years and author of The Great Neighborhood Book. His website is: JayWalljasper.com

Entries by Jay Walljasper

The ABCs of Making Streets Safe for Pedestrians

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 12:19 PM

More than 4,500 pedestrians (see my earlier blog post) are killed by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America.

This is not an inevitable fact of modern life. These deaths are preventable, as shown by the dramatic decline of pedestrian (as well as bicycle and...

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How to Save 4,500 Lives a Year in America's Streets

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 12:01 PM

More than 4500 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America--more than those who died in the horror of 9/11.

A recent report from the National Complete Streets Coalition studying ten years of data found that 16 times more people were killed...

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How Bicycling Improves City Life for Everyone

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 4:31 PM

You can see big changes happening across America as communities from Fairbanks to St. Petersburg transform their streets into appealing places for people, not just cars and trucks.

"Over the past five years we're seeing an infrastructure revolution, a rethinking of our streets to accommodate more users -- busways,...

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How to Get America Back on Its Feet

(2) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 11:21 AM

What if there was a way to reduce the risk of many major diseases at the same time as helping improve your overall health, decreasing your weight and boosting your energy? And what if this treatment was simple to do and took only a few minutes each week?

And further,...

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Do Bike Lanes Promote Gentrification?

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 6:02 PM

While African-Americans comprise the fastest growing demographic of bicyclists, doubling from 2001 and 2009 according to U.S. Department of Transportation data, bike lanes proposed for African-American neighborhoods in several cities have drawn controversy.

There are widespread feelings in some African-American communities that bike lanes are the opening...

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A New Walking Movement to Get America Back on Its Feet

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 3:55 PM

Walking plays a fundamental role in our transportation system, with 11 percent of all trips made on foot, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Neighborhoods that rank high for walkability (where walking is safe and convenient) enjoy a greater sense of community and

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Life in the Green Lane: 21st Century Biking

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 10:14 AM

How to describe your first time in a green lane? There's nothing quite like riding a bike in the comfort of your own lane, separated from speeding traffic.

For me it happened on a business trip to Copenhagen. I saw bikes everywhere, beginning with the taxi ride from the...

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Bike Backlash Quiets Down in New York and Elsewhere

(15) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 3:49 PM

Former New York mayor Ed Koch envisioned bicycles as vehicles for the future, and in 1980 created experimental bike lanes on 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan where riders were protected from speeding traffic by asphalt barriers. Some people immediately roared their disapproval and within a few weeks the bike...

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Walking Revolution to Make Us Happier and Healthier

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 4:40 AM

The next big health care breakthrough -- which could significantly cut rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, and dementia, help treat depression and save Americans $198 billion a year by 2018 --...

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Studies Suggest Bike Commuting One of Best Ways to Stay Healthy

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 10:21 AM

It's always a pleasure when scientific studies confirm your own long-held opinions, especially when what you think flies in the face of all conventional wisdom.

For instance, who knew that chocolate éclairs and triple fudge caramel brownies actually contain fewer calories than a 12-ounce glass of skim milk? Or that...

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A City Lover's Guide to the Motor City

(2) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 4:12 PM

For those of us who love cities in all their giddy, gritty glory, the Motor City awaits.

Although struggling economically over recent decades, Detroit offers experiences you expect from a world-class city: heart-stopping architecture, a bustling waterfront, topnotch art, convivial nightlife, great food, picturesque city squares, a crowded public market,...

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Better Bicycling Mean More Business, Cities Discover

(17) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 5:24 PM

"Biking is definitely part of our strategy to attract and retain businesses in order to compete in a mobile world," says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak as we pedal across the Mississippi River on a bike-and-pedestrian bridge. "We want young talent to come here and stay. And good biking is one...

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The Suprise Behind Detroit's Emerging Comeback

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 5:31 PM

Stories of Detroit's emerging comeback often highlight the city's attraction to young hipsters. According to plentiful media reports, well-educated 20-somethings are streaming into the Motor City to test out new ideas, explore art and music projects or launch D-I-Y revitalization initiatives.

You can spot a number of once-dormant corners of...

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It's a Myth That Detroit Is a Food Desert

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 12:34 PM

In many people's minds, Detroit stands apart from other major American cities as an irredeemable disaster.

It's a lost cause, they say, and we'd do better investing scarce resources toward revitalizing other cities with better prospects for the future.

So what makes Detroit different in the public imagination than other...

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Southwest Detroit: Community-Driven Revitalization

(1) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 4:58 PM

Cities are complex hives of human activity that highlight all that's inspiring and troubling about modern life, often at the same time. Like any commons, they are made up of interconnnecting relationships that transcend our neat divisions into rich and poor, thriving and troubled.

New York's revitalized districts sizzle with...

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Fall and Rise of Great Public Places

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2012 | 2:52 PM

It's a dark and wintry night in Copenhagen, and the streets are bustling. The temperature stands above freezing, but winds blow hard enough to knock down a good share of the bicycles parked all around. Scandinavians are notorious for their stolid reserve, but it's all smiles and animated conversation here...

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America the Possible: A Manifesto for Our Children

(0) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 11:47 AM

In America the Possible: A Manifesto -- a riveting two part excerpt in Orion Magazine from a forthcoming book -- environmental strategist and scholar Gus Speth crafts a practical agenda for the future of the American Dream that brims with optimism, decency and common sense. He...

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Young, Talented-- and Living in Detroit

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2012 | 6:58 PM

Declining, desperate Detroit is old news.

It's not that the city's economic woes, struggling schools, racial friction and crime have been magically solved. A glance at local headlines will tell you that.

But there are new stories to tell about Detroit today. Which doesn't mean the old stories are all...

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Biking Pedals Into the 21st Century

(4) Comments | Posted June 7, 2012 | 7:44 PM

You can glimpse the future right now in forward-looking American cities -- a few blocks here, a mile there where people riding bicycles are protected from rushing cars and trucks.

Chicago's Kinzie Street, just north of downtown, offers a good picture of this transportation transformation. New bike lanes are...

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Amsterdam-by-the-Bay: Learning Better Biking From the Dutch

(4) Comments | Posted June 1, 2012 | 12:14 PM

One of the most dangerous ideas infecting the United States today -- both for Americans and the rest of the world -- is the myth of American exceptionalism. At its core, this means that Americans have nothing to learn from anywhere else. Hooey! Balderdash! Horsefeathers! Human progress from the very...

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