I present this information because I hope that people-oriented places for walking and transit become more prevalent in the United States and throughout the world.
I am not an urban planner, architect, or transit professional. I am developing People Places as an outgrowth of my work on the Places section of my Web site where I present information about several urban areas and my Live Simple book which catalogues specific tactics for living a more simple life.
I want to help people learn how walkability and transit can lead to engaging places. In the last century, suburban, urban, and rural development became so automobile-centered, that I am afraid that many people might not be able to walk or take transit anymore. I am not against cars, but I hope that places for people can be supported and expanded, so that people can walk, get exercise, reduce highway deaths, save energy, and enjoy all that people-oriented places can offer.
Of course, urban critics and professionals have been working on these ideas for many decades. I hope my Web-based work will help draw a general audience into these ideas and point to terms and concepts, books, information sources, as well as eventually develop and present some original ideas.
I am an urban dweller and walker, and I face the issue of walkability and transit in an urban area on a daily basis. By choice, I don't have a car (since 1989), and I walk or take transit to shopping, parks, and other attractions. I am fortunate in that I can work at home (developing december.com), so I don't have to commute to an office park or tower. When I was teaching and/or in graduate school, I walked or took transit to school. When I had a real job and a car (way back in the '80s!), I still walked as much as possible, and many weekeneds, I didn't use my car at all. My girlfriend at that time did have a car, and she liked to drive, so I did ride in a car often--the deal we had was that I paid for where we went, like the movies or meals, if she would drive (I never did like driving).
I have lived in a range of cities in four US states, including the largest cities in two different states and presently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's largest city. My early life was shaped by living in small towns in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which I gratefully remember as places where I could walk to stores, the lake, or easily ride my bike to parks.
My view of the world, of course, has been shaped by my experience and travels. On my trips I've always sought to explore places by asking myself, "What would it be like to live here?" I've used public transit, shopped at food stores, and walked whenever possible in trips to New York, London, Mexico City, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Stockholm, Vienna, Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Jose, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Washington DC, Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore, New York State's Capital District, St. Louis, Wichita KS, Honolulu HI, Madison WI, Kenosha WI, Racine WI, Waukesha WI, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
This People Places section of my Web site is a long-term project. I will continuously add more information to it. If you have suggestions or comments, please send email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line
places-people. Thank you!