American Cities Need a Makeover
For decades, cities have been built around the needs of cars – trampling over the needs of people along the way. Year after year, we build wider streets, more highways, and more parking lots, hoping to decrease traffic. Instead, it has made our commutes even worse.
Worse, what damage have we done in our quest to make cars the king of the road?
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By widening streets, removing stop signs and crosswalks, and raising speed limits, we have made pedestrian crossings even more inconvenient, and even dangerous.
The average American downtown is made up of 22% parking lots, making it easier to find a parking spot than an affordable apartment or house.
When we build isolated residential neighborhoods, miles away from work, markets, or shops, it becomes impossible to bike or walk anywhere, and so even routine trips become drives, putting more cars on the road.
With more cars on the road, we don’t feel safe letting our kids play outside,
This damage has not been distributed evenly, either. As highways were built through American cities, they were often routed intentionally through low-income neighborhoods, especially majority Black neighborhoods. These highways displaced residents, furthered the impact of redlining by decreasing home values, and even intentionally segregating Black neighborhoods from white.
Now, imagine if we designed our cities differently.
Imagine neighborhoods where homes are only a short, safe walk away from markets and shops, where kids can play safely in the streets.
Imagine reading a book on a fast, clean light rail to work, rather than sitting in traffic.
Imagine parks and gardens and fountains replacing ugly parking lots.
Imagine cities built for people, not cars.