Editorial: Walkable Cities and the Environment


Fisher DiSimone, Editor

Walkable cities might just be part of the answer to the issue of climate change. 

6:00pm, Friday night living on Long Island, the absolute prime time for teens my age to go out and do things. However, I do not have my license. One thing about Long Island is the isolation one has without a car; walking places is near impossible. All my peers are drawn to this so-called necessity, which adds to the isolation. One major topic of discussion in years past has been climate change, which goes hand-in-hand with the idea of cars being a necessity, due to carbon monoxide. Since the issue of climate change has been increasingly discussed, the major supporters of saving our planet are the youth, as this will be our home for decades to come. Walkable cities are the clear solution for many of Earth’s conflicts and will change the way we look at climate change.

New York City is a melting pot of culture, people, and cuisine which creates this amazing area where people are free to be who they are, and they can make a difference in their community. Whenever I visit New York I feel as if I’m in a completely different world compared to my small town on Long Island. I am able to travel from Brooklyn all the way to Times Square in 15-20 minutes without the use of a car, thanks to the Subway system. I can walk down one street for 30 minutes and see all different kinds of stores, restaurants, and parks and feel the life of the city in every step. “What people who haven’t experienced a real urban lifestyle generally don’t get is how easy life is. Running errands is a snap; because you walk most places, you don’t worry about traffic jams or parking spaces” (Krugman). With the growing population, imagine a world where every single person has a car. There has to be a time where we as people see that the overabundance of the demand for vehicles is slowly deteriorating our ecosystems.  “Recent research suggests that walking also promotes mental and physical health. The quality of the pedestrian environment is key to encouraging people to choose walking over driving” (Southworth).

Of course there are negatives involved with walkable cities, such as the expensive rent, which makes it hard for one to transition into one of these areas. However, the bottom line is our Earth is the only thing we have right now, and preserving it is the best we can do for us, and our future generations that will come after us, which is why the topic of walkable cities needs to be brought to the forefront of our discussions about climate change moving forward.

This is something that I have been interested in, since I am attending college in the city this upcoming fall at Pace University. As I toured the college I thought why couldn’t a majority of the country have this feeling of freedom? The idea of public transportation fascinates me and I truly believe that if the rest of the world can at least mimic the transportation portion of walkable cities, it would be a monumental turning point in how we look at climate change.

* Image from www.publicdomainpictures.net (Public Domain)