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After reading this article (link credit = Jeff Veen), I got to thinking about how valuable walking is. I remember my swedish boyfriend slamming me for driving my car a couple blocks to the supermarket; “You americans are so lazy, it´s unbelievable!” He proceeded to give me this long lecture which ended up in a fight: I WAS NOT LAZY. I went to the gym 5 times a week and jogged, it was just that I had to buy some groceries and couldn´t schlepp all those groceries home on foot. I thought he was just being a jerk.
Today living in Germany, I often schlepp my groceries on foot the same distance, and I never forgot that fight. I have to hear this again and again at social gatherings, how lazy americans are. On one hand, most of our cities were built after the discovery of the automobile, and are therefore not human-friendly but car-friendly. On the other hand, when we do have the oppertunity to walk somewhere, we drive instead out of habit. In the US, our streets are wider, paking lots are bigger, most stores are cut off from residential areas, we lack pedestrian-friendly town centers and many cities lack enough sidewalks and bikelanes.
Have our city planners in the US screwed us out of a healthy lifestyle? What would be your ideal city plan?