This blog expresses the personal opinions of Steven E. Miller, a LivableStreets Alliance Board Member, along with occasional guests, on topics related to transportation, urban planning, and public health in the Boston metro area. Entries are intended to be analytic commentaries about larger issues rather than daily reporting of personal experiences or events. Reader comments are welcome, although we reserve the right to delete delete personal attacks, inappropriate language, commercial plugs, and other non-relevant material.
We live our lives; we do the best we can. We make personal choices, but those choices are shaped by our surroundings the way the landscape shapes the paths we follow. And our surroundings are shaped by a web of inter-connected systems including transportation, food, energy, manufacturing, communications, markets, and more. These systems make some choices easy and others extremely difficult — even to the point of shaping our assumptions about what is possible and what we don’t even bother thinking about.
Transportation and land use are intertwined. Together they shape the environment in which we decide where we live and work, the kinds of work we do, the types of food and shelter we consume, how we play and relate to others, our health, our environment, and much else. As Winston Churchill said about architecture – “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us” – so, too, about transportation and landuse.
This blog explores how our transportation system and built environment can be better structured to improve our lives, health, and planet – to make it easier to earn a living, buy our necessities, stay well, participate in supportive families and communities, be active citizens, be good stewards of our fragile ecosystem, leave our children a better world than we inherited, be creative and enjoy ourselves throughout the life cycle.
As my father used to say, “You should always be heading for the horizon, but you should always watch where you are stepping.” And one of the first steps, one that will be the focus of this blog, is the creation of livable streets.