There has been a lot of talk about walkability recently. Research links walkability with safer, healthier communities, but obviously, not all cities currently enjoy highly walkable neighborhoods. The good news is that more and more cities are beginning to think seriously about investing in more walkable infrastructure. This trend is leading many planners and community leaders to consider questions like: How does one evaluate walkability in the first place? And what kinds of improvements can we make NOW? Both are great questions! To get started, below we’ve listed some simple ways to increase walkability in your city.
Strong, sustainable communities start with great decisions — and all good decisions are rooted in data. As people who plan, manage, and shape the cities we live in, where our decisions come from and how they’re made matters. But there’s a problem: This type of insight is notoriously difficult to access, analyze, and share.
What happened in Flint was a tragedy — but what many people don’t realize is that most lead exposure occurs not from contaminated water, but from peeling lead paint in older homes. Before his death, Freddie Gray was found to have 35 micrograms of lead in his blood, which is seven times the amount that can impair brain development. Children who are poisoned by lead — often in older homes with peeling lead paint, as in Freddie Gray’s case — are six times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system or display criminal behavior, and seven times more likely to drop out of school.
When considering the demographic shifts that may shape your city in the coming years, there’s one important trend to plan for: cities around the world are getting older. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report on aging cities, the world population of people 60 and older is expected to double by 2050. How will your city react? Read more to get some pointers.
Building permit data can reveal a lot about a city or community. Places with fast-growing economies tend to have a higher demand for construction. Overall, building permits—particularly those that are residential—are extremely useful in estimating (and even projecting) city growth and change, including student growth rates, job counts, population growth, and overall economic well being. For these reasons, mySidewalk recently added building permit data to the tool. Now you can gather this data for your own city—and use it to find places of high growth as well as places that could use an economic boost.
More and more, local fire departments are partnering with community groups to disseminate crucial fire safety information into the hands of residents. Getting community organizations on board with fire safety tactics can significantly help improve resident understanding and utilization of fire preparedness and safety measures. By using data, every city and community can better understand how to bolster communication efforts to help residents make safer choices.