Price Tags has posted a video of a great lecture given at Simon Fraser University by Jeff Tumlin, a principal at Nelson\Nygaard. If you’re interested in making our cities and transportation systems more sustainable, able to accommodate more people, and just nicer places to be, you’ll want to take the time to watch this lecture in its entirely; Tumlin is an excellent speaker, wonky yet engaging.
I couldn’t agree more strongly with his main points: focus on pedestrians, make walking delightful; make bicycling safe and enjoyable for everyone; fix (or replace) the broken metrics the civil engineering field uses to evaluate and plan streets; active, mixed-use density is good for us, individually and collectively; and that the critical density to make cars optional does not have to be high-rise towers (although that’s great if we can make it happen, especially around rapid transit), it can be a continuous fabric of low- to mid-rise mixed-use density.
I only wish he had not taken some of the detours into pop-psychology; they are distracting, somewhat speculative, and seem unnecessary to motivate or explain his real message. That many people are willing to pay a considerable premium to live in walkable, car-optional neighborhoods with an active street life is reason enough to fix the broken regulatory systems that prevent us from building more of them.