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Janette Sadik-Khan: It Is Pedestrians, Not Cars, That Drives The Economy

(Foto: Document of Smartcity Magazine & Online News and Information®, 2016)


Smartcitymakassar.com. –Makassar- Frommer’s, one of an integrated world travel service firms, shared tips about enjoying Munich. Enjoy the city by walk. Walk through the ‘English Garden’, one of the largest garden spaces in Europe that stretches from downtown to northeastern of the city, before having a glass of beer at Chinesischer Turm or ‘Chinese Tower’.

From Kaufingerstraße, take a walk to Marienplatz, a good place for window shops. Marienplatz is the heart of the city and a tourists and locals hub. From Marienplatz, pedestrians could continue on to a place of designer shops, Maximilianstraße. Amazing and great architectures, huge parks, and great places for shopping are features of these places in Munich.

It is true that the center of Munich is very pedestrians-friendly with structured land-use that closes each other.  Condition that creates active experience for pedestrians. Shops, café, museum and bars, line at sidewalks to offer many options for shopping, eating and enjoying the culture.

Frommer’s also provides the same tips for cities such as Florence, Paris, Amsterdam and Dubrovnik in Croatia. According to Time online, if you live in one of these cities of Washington D.C., New York City or Boston, then your main transportation mode is leg.

City Governments or designers take important and full attention to pedestrians. Today, pedestrian is one of the main components of city design. For example, the ‘car free city’ of China, a project that will build a new urban center for around 80,000 people outside Chengdu, will be entirely walkable.

Masdar in Abu Dhabi is currently constructing the world’s first zero-carbon city. The city will feature a public transportation system in place of automobiles. It will be fueled by solar, wind and geothermal power. City of Vienna and Stockholm even are extending the space for pedestrians mainly in sidewalks.

Future city or smart city according to Alexander Ståhle from KTH Royal Institute, Sweden, is a place for walk, or a walkable city. Innovative city has density, for example on land use. Good density means good public space that connects place for interactions. Walkability needs this density. Density does not depend on automobiles. The higher the density is, then the lower are automobiles use, and are conversely the higher the bike, public transportation and walk use.

The density, according to Alexander Ståhle, describes the smart city or even the smarter city.  Smart(er) city is a city that has low cost but high interactions. The places with high interactions are workplace, home, and walkspace. Highway is at the lowest position. Interaction places that require low cost are walkspace and bikeway, followed by workplace and home. Highways and railways is the places require the highest cost.

From the low cost and high interaction criteria, Alexander Ståhle listed 10 technologies for smart city. The three lowest among the lists are robot car, drone and high speed train. While the top listed technology is the sidewalk. “It is pedestrians, not cars, that drives the economy”, said Janette Sadik Khan from NYC DOT, and “high quality sidewalks are the most basic element of a democratic city”, said Enrique Penalosa from ITDP, as Alexander Ståhle cited them.

It is no doubt that world cities realized and are competing to bring their cities really walkable. Stockholm has been transforming from industry city (1910), tram city (1945), metro city (2010), to de-industrialized city, in order to be walkable city in coming 2025.

In America, Canada and Australia, a firm created a ‘walk score’ to inform and encourage people the walkable cities. The non-profit organization ‘Walk21’, working to connect and empower urban governments, citizens and communities to achieve a walkable future, has declared the ‘International Charter for Walking’. Around 4,000 people and organizations including several mayor’s and city government singed this charter.

The city that encourages and allows its people to choice and to be able to walk as the way to travel, to be healthy and to relax is a place where innovations are created faster, for better economic growth, with healthy environment, and to live. The world will tell this city. It is the world city.* (Riad Mustafa)

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