Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rethinking our suburbs

Haya El Nasser writes in today's USA Today how rising gas prices are inspiring suburbs like Maricopa, AZ; Rancho Cucamonga, CA; and Huntersville, NC to consider redesigning themselves into self-sustaining communities. The article even mentions a website, http://www.walkscore.com that evaluates the "walkability" of some 2,500 neighborhoods, proposing that our nation's tolerance for driving vast distances between bedroom, work, and market is rapidly declining. Here's a snip:
"We're sort of stuck with retrofitting the suburbs," says Scott Bernstein, head of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which for years has urged that transportation costs be a criterion for mortgage qualification. "That's not all that bad. … There's nothing like a crisis to get people to try something."
Incidentally, my neighborhood (Scotts Valley, CA) has a Walk Score of 63/100 ("Somewhat walkable"). I hope that number will increase with the addition of our long awaited Skypark Town Center. It's a literally perfect illustration of this article: the transformation of an empty lot and two ill-placed propane businesses into a real downtown.

Read the entire piece: Gas prices drive push to reinvent America's suburbs


detroit dog said...

Interesting. Isn't this what urban cities were supposed to be like all along?

My current neighborhood ranked 38. I long for the 98 of my old Brooklyn. (I didn't have to make a concerted effort to exercise then, and my cholesterol was lower.) Sounds like you live in a very good "in between" place.

highway163 said...

98? Wow. That must have been amazing.

I'll be interesting to see if Scotts Valley can push its number up, and I'll certainly post results!