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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Mapping a walkable lifestyle - the web of daily life

Kaid Benfield

Posted September 22, 2010 in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Moving Beyond Oil

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  route from home to office (courtesy of Steve Mouzon)

At the top of this post is a marked satellite photo indicating the locations of sustainable architect Steve Mouzon’s house and, a few blocks away, his office, both in Miami Beach.  A walking route between the two is also indicated.

Steve’s latest post on Original Green is a great illustration of how living in a mixed-use, walkable neighborhood can reduce your environmental footprint.  Although he has a car and uses it on occasion, most all of the errands in Steve’s daily life – les jours quotidiens, the French call it – are within a pleasant and efficient walk or, in a pinch, a short bike ride away from the home and office.  His locale, at least for Steve, then, is not just a neighborhood but also a community.

All this, and he gets to live and work in Miami Beach, too - and, incidentally, earlier this year released the best-designed and most beautiful of the many recent books on sustainable lifestyle and design.   Not too shabby.

  routes to Flamingo Park (courtesy of Steve Mouzon) 

Moving along, here is a park frequented by Steve and his better half, Wanda, convenient to both home and office by foot.

  grocery stores nearby (courtesy of Steve Mouzon) 

His blog post indicates that food stores are plentiful, but Steve marked routes to two favorites, a short walk from home and the office, respectively.

  walking routes to just a few of the nearby restaurants (courtesy of Steve Mouzon) 

Above, routes to some of Steve and Wanda’s favorite restaurants, all easily walkable.

  composite of the geography of a daily life (courtesy of Steve Mouzon) 

His blog post includes several more maps like these, and you should go to it and see them.  Perhaps most interesting, though, is the composite map above, indicating the routes to all of their frequent destinations (including some not shown above: doctor, accountant, various retailers, etc.).  Steve calls it the Web of Daily Life, and his is pretty small as these patterns go, certainly much smaller than my own.

Steve reminds us in the post that fuel prices will rise with inevitable and substantial increases in international demand, and challenges us to consider whether our lifestyles are ready.  He concludes:

“You should also map out your Web of Daily Life. Then ask yourself “which of these paths would be most easily disrupted?” At $5/gallon? At $10/gallon? At $20/gallon? And then let’s have a conversation about some of the best ways of strengthening your Web of Daily Life.”

Read his entire post here.

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page

 

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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