Philadelphia is in the relatively early stages of an era of policies and projects that will keep it at the front of the pack when it comes to urban design that enhances access, maximizes mobility, and in so doing creates conditions for people to live easier, cheaper, healthier, happier lives.
The Philadelphia Planning Commission's mystery blogger got all introspective about this Monday, with some musings on former Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa's novel idea that planners should "design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich." Penalosa is most famous for creating the TransMilenio bus network- a widely celebrated bus rapid transit system that's mostly as good as a subway - and is beloved by urbanists for his advocacy on behalf of mobility and good urban design as catalysts for greater social inclusion, health and well-being.
The Planeto blog recounts some of the ways that they too have been trying to build a Philadelphia that makes you happier: prioritizing Complete Streets that dedicate space to pedestrians, bikes and transit as well as private cars; better pedestrian-focused street design; hundreds of miles of new trails and bike lanes; greening neighborhood schoolyards; and creating avenues for citizen input on large iconic development projects.
Last time Pew polled us, most residents didn't seem to be feeling the love just yet, although New Philadelphians had a somewhat more optimistic verdict on the city's direction. Keep trying, planners!
· Philadelphians' Attitudes Toward Their City Take a Downward Turn [Pew]
· Does Philadelphia make you happy? [Philadelphia Planeto]