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Project for Public Spaces: Walking is Going Places

Project for Public Spaces: Walking is Going Places

As the options for multi-modal transportation in the East End are continually expanding (more on that when our new site launches soon), we thought it might be nice to share an article from the Project for Public Spaces regarding one of our favorite past times: the old-fashioned art of walking. And just in case you’ve already slipped on your new year’s resolution to get in shape, give this article a read for motivation.

The following excerpt is from Walking is Going Places, part one in a series by Jay Walljasper. Originally published at www.pps.org on Jan 13, 2015.

Walking is going places.

Humans’ most common pastime–forsaken for decades as too slow and too much effort– is now recognized as a health breakthrough, an economic catalyst, and a route to happiness.

Real Simple magazine (circulation: 2 million) declared “walking, America’s untrendiest trend” in its February 2014 cover story. A month later Builder magazine (a construction trade journal) announced on its cover, “Walkability. Why we care…and why you should too.” The reason? Simple: “Increasingly, the market is demanding places where homeowners can hoof it.”

The New Yorker weighed in last September quoting the new book A Philosophy of Walking, which asserts that walking “makes it possible to recover the pure sensation of being, to rediscover the simple joy of existing.”

This sheer pleasure of walking is highlighted in one of the year’s top music videos, “Happy” by soul singer Pharrell Williams. It’s an exuberant celebration of life on foot showing all kinds of people (including Magic Johnson, Steve Carrell and Jimmy Kimmel) strutting, stepping, striding and sashaying down city streets. It’s been viewed 465 million times on You Tube.

There is sure to be continuing coverage of foot power next year when the Surgeon General’s office releases a Call to Action on the health and social benefits of walking and walkable communities–a step some are comparing to the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on the dangers of smoking.

Already the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all adults engage in 30 minutes of physical activity such as walking five days a week based on the proven connection between moderate physical activity and lower incidences of major medical problems–not just heart disease, diabetes and obesity, as you’d expect, but also depression, dementia, anxiety, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and other serious conditions.

This flurry of attention about walking is more than a flash-in-the-pan. Evidence that millions of Americans’ are now rediscovering walking for transportation, fitness, and fun is as solid as the sidewalk beneath our feet.

Read the Full Article (Part One) Read Part Two

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