Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Jen Keesmaat on Cities for People

I've quoted Toronto urban planner Jennifer Keesmaat, who ran for mayor of that city a few years ago, many times in my Twitter roundup. But I've never posted about her before.

A couple of days ago she posted a couple of tweets that summarized what I've been thinking about cities, cars, and public transit.

The opportunity of the future of the city is to design for people first (not cars) and to use mobility as an overlay to service people. If we do this, we will quickly see that planning for cars stretches out uses to a scale that gobbles land and isn't very convenient for people.

A people-oriented city is a compact city. Cars don't fit in a compact city. They take up too much space and are too inefficient! Transit, on the other hand, is a golden goose. Millions of people can be moved using very little space, walking to their destinations to finish the trip.

But overlaying transit into a city designed for cars doesn't work well. Uses are too spread out. Transit in cities designed for cars is usually inefficient and costly to provide. This is why shifting land use and adding density is foundational to creating transit-oriented cities.

I just learned from Keesmaat's Wikipedia page that she is also a daughter number three of four daughters.

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