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Annals of Walking – 16

January 22, 2013

A pedestrian perspective.

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THE WALKING MEETING

From the Harvard Business Review – on the dangers of prolonged sitting and one useful thing you can do about it:

Research shows that this lack of physical activity is directly tied to 6% of the impact for heart diseases, 7% for type 2 diabetes, and 10% for breast cancer, or colon cancer. You might already know that the death rate associated with obesity in the US is now 35 million. …

The New York Times reported on another study, published last year in the journal Circulation that looked at nearly 9,000 Australians and found that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11%. In that article, a doctor is quoted as saying that excessive sitting, which he defines as nine hours a day, is a lethal activity. …

So four years ago, I made a simple change when I switched one meeting from a coffee meeting to a walking-meeting. I liked it so much it became a regular addition to my calendar; I now average four such meetings, and 20 to 30 miles each week. Today it’s life-changing, but it happened almost by accident.

And after a few hundred of these meetings, I’ve started noticing some unanticipated side benefits. First, I can actually listen better when I am walking next to someone than when I’m across from them in some coffee shop. …

Second, the simple act of moving also means the mobile device mostly stays put away. …

And, finally we almost always end the hike joyful. …

I’ve learned that if you want to get out of the box thinking, you need to literally get out of the box.

Article here.

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“WALK LIKE A FISH”

From the New York Times:

Fish happen to be a good model for what we do: research on fish “traffic” management has led to the formulation of three simple rules they follow to avoid congestion while moving together with hundreds or thousands of other fish. …

These rules of “attraction” (staying with others …), “avoidance” ( …while not too close), and “alignment” (going the same direction and speed as those around you) are sufficient to explain all herd, school, flock and swarm behavior — not to mention that of big-brained and busy human pedestrians.

Article here.

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BENEFITS OF WALKABLE DOWNTOWNS 

Jeff Speck, author of The Walkable City, spoke to the CEOs for Cities conference about not just why walkable dowmtowns are important.  His economic rationale:

… 64% of Millennials are now choosing where they want to live before finding a job, and 77% plan to live in urban areas. This data is supported by the fact that one in four teenagers are opting out of obtaining drivers licenses nowadays. There has been a major cultural shift where young people are no longer buying cars and houses. Millennials want to be close to work, entertainment, public transit and other amenities.

And by the way, density on its own is not sufficient.

More here.

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PHOENIX GETS SERIOUS
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Richard Campbell comments:
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The City of Vancouver’s new transportation includes a goal of zero fatalities but does not set a timeframe for this goal. Phoenix’s goals are more lofty: a 10 percent reduction in pedestrian deaths each year, with zero by 2020. The measures needed to reach this goal will likely greatly improve driver and cyclist safety as well. If a city had no pedestrian fatalities, it is likely that there would be zero fatalities for cyclists and motorists as well.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Agustin permalink
    January 22, 2013 11:36 am

    “…the risk of dying rose by 11%…”

    To 111%?

  2. Sandy James permalink
    January 23, 2013 8:48 pm

    The Atlanta Centre for Disease Control notes that the
    “Promotion of walking is a viable public health strategy to help adults meet physical activity guidelines and gain health benefits”. (CDC MWR 2012: 61 1-7)
    Now if we could only design our cities and lives around that strategy…

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