When I lived in London I walked a lot. London is a good city for walking, partly perhaps because it is a historical city where the streets were designed more for people and horse drawn carts. Designed for a time when people would be walking on the streets. However, having visited Dubai and attempted walking around that city, it is clear that Dubai is not designed for walkers. This may be down to the climate but also a 'road focussed' city design culture as opposed to one focussed on getting people walking.
This post from the Strown Towns website backs up the economic value of designing cities for walking.
What is the value of a street where people can walk safely? Why build streets that are constructed with the needs of people in mind, not just the needs of cars?
“Again and again, when we look at streets oriented toward people we find that they are more economically productive than any other style of development.”
Many people concerned with pedestrian safety and "walkability" care about these issues because they feel that walking is good exercise or that walkable places are more attractive or that walking is better for the environment than driving.
These are all valid arguments and may convince some of those reading this article that walkability is important. But what I want to talk about today isn’t an argument based on values or aesthetics. It’s an argument based on pure dollars and cents — one that should convince people with a myriad of values and political leanings that people-oriented places must be a priority if we want our communities to be economically prosperous.