I’m in a hurry to finish this post cause I have an impromptu community picnic in the park to make it to. I’ll be wheeling the barbecue, table and chairs over to enjoy some quality time with my neighbors while my kids tear around with their little friends from across the alley. I’m a lucky guy, and I can hardly imagine a better place to raise my kids. This is by way of introducing an excellent article which lays out in wonderful detail the social benefits of my kind of street: “How Livable Streets Make Us Happier Humans. It’s not just for the environmental benefits that our nation needs to take up the task of creating more livable streets; they also have a profound impact on our well-being and resilience as communities, explains Sarah Goodyear. “That sense I have — that my living room extends into the street — is, sadly, a privilege in this day and age. It’s made possible by relatively low car traffic and high density of dwelling units on my block. This combination opens up a way of life that used to be common — in which human beings naturally connect with each other over time, forming networks that can then be called upon when the going gets rough….
Changing our streets to bring them back to human scale will take generations. It’s a process, but at least the work has begun in earnest. ” Read More>>> This post follows up on David Roberts’ series on “great places. ” I found out yesterday that one of my neighbors, a lady in her 70s, had been taken to the hospital with heart problems. Her middle-aged daughter, who lives with her, was the one who told me, when we met on the stretch of sidewalk between our two houses.
We often stop to chat like this, trading news and gossip and small talk. I expressed my concern and asked if there was anything that I could do. The daughter thanked me, and said she would pass along my well-wishes. Later, I found out from another neighbor that the older woman is going to be just fine. Phew. So what does this have to do with the “great places” idea David Roberts began exploring a few weeks back? Here’s what: Great places have to be sustainable not just environmentally, but socially, too. Because human beings are social animals.