The smart growth characteristics of these older neighborhoods make them terrific for the environment and for public health: they reduce transportation emissions by obviating driving trips and shortening those that people do take; they save land by keeping development compact and obviating additional increments of sprawl; they promote physical fitness and health with walkability.
For the working poor, unions can provide a structure for voicing grievances and a collective power for bringing about change, often in the face of resistance. In this article, we travel from Mumbai and Bangalore to Tehran and Ho Chi Minh City to explore some of the struggles waged by unions to demand the rights of their members.
For those places that are coming back, or as in the case of Dublin being made more walkable, the environment especially will benefit as car trips can become shorter and, in many cases, can be replaced by transit and walking trips. We will also need fewer intrusions on undeveloped watersheds and the rural countryside. And, besides, walkable places are good for our health, too.
The standard forecasts used throughout the transportation industry do not consider the kinds of walkable, mixed-use environments found often in city neighborhoods. As a result, the forecasts typically overestimate the amount of traffic likely to be associated with much urban development. That's a problem for proponents of urban development alternatives to suburban sprawl.
A governance revolution is underway, founded on the irresistible rise of cities and the ongoing decline of sovereign nation states. That revolution is already evident in countries from Italy and France to China and the United States and opens a chapter in the history of democracy in which public power is localized but not privatized and thus made more, rather than less, democratic.
While enabling cars to move around is not unimportant, I applaud those leaders who are also directing our attention -- and the attention of public departments of transportation -- back to people, to streets as not just conveyances but also destinations, places to linger on foot, as places of beauty, as places whose look and feel greatly define what it means to be in a particular community, why one city differs from another.