Last week, Smart Growth America published their semi-annual Dangerous by Design report, highlighting the most perilous places to be a pedestrian in the US and calling for a variety of policy measures to help put an end to the 13 people whose lives are stolen every day because of fatal street design. Clearly, given our ongoing blog series, Design for our Lives, and our data-driven efforts to put teeth behind Vision Zero (and the like) programs over the course of the past 9 months, the report caught our attention. Accordingly, we culled through the report and pulled out not only the key stats all citymakers must have at their fingerprints about road safety - whether they are involved in a Vision Zero program or not - but also the critical design and policy measures that must be implemented immediately - literally as a matter of life and death - to go from dangerous by design to safe by design. And next week, we’ll distill these design and policy guidelines into specific, actionable urban design changes that all citymakers need to start implementing STAT (we were gonna do it this week, but we didn’t want to cut too much more into your important citymaking schedules! ;)). So without further ado, we present the top three findings of the Dangerous by Design report and the seven top design and policy recommendations that must be heeded to get Safer by Design.
A couple of weeks ago, we ran across an article published in CNU’s Public Square entitled “Walkability indexes are flawed. Let's find a better method.” Naturally, as an urban data and predictive analytics software company - who produces a quality of place index that measures walkability among other “abilities”, ahem, the State of Place Index - this got our attention. While Mr. Steuteville, the author of the piece, makes some astute - and accurate - claims about indeces like Walk Score and the EPA’s National Walkability Index (NWI), we took a deeper dive into his arguments, lest we not throw out the baby with the bathwater. So, we humbly present to you a few ways in which the State of Place Index does indeed address many of the stated “flaws” outlined in the article and then underscore why Mr. Steuteville’s proposed solution alone - to focus on measuring walking - has key downsides that citymakers must consider. So let’s dig in before my datageeky heart bursts with joy (we love getting the opportunity to get geeky with it with pieces like these - so thanks Mr. Steuteville!).
A few weeks ago, we presented the hard numbers that show that a one point increase (out of 100) in the State of Place Index (i.e. better urban design) reduces the likelihood of a collision by 12.3% on average. This week, please meet Guess Street in Durham, NC --a dangerous hotspot not unlike many in your community -- we'll walk you through the specific changes citymakers need to make to save lives!
Last week, we asked you lovely Citymakers about your place-based resolutions for 2019 and provided a handy actionable guide for how to ensure you actually get them DONE! So this week, we’re sharing our very own intentions for what we hope to see more - and less of - in the citymaking space in 2019 and beyond!
Ah the new year! A time when we reflect on all that we've accomplished (hopefully!) in the past year, as well as make (sometimes lofty) plans and resolutions for "the new me." But making successful resolutions that stick is hard work...because it involves making changes, which is no easy feat (especially for cities, since that usually means getting others on board too)! Dropping 15 pounds, quitting smoking, organizing your closet, or creating better places (our wheelhouse!) can be difficult without the right tools and support. Although we can't help organize your closet, we can provide cities with an invaluable tool to achieve their place quality resolutions - to help make your neighborhoods and communities more walkable, livable, irresistible. Here's how...
Happiest of holidays from the State of Place Team! We hope you've been enjoying time with family and friends and got everything your heart desired this holiday season. But, just in case(s), here’s our special (re)gift to you - our most popular posts of 2018. And yes, regifting is now totally ok, so we good! ;)
Two years ago, I wrote about comedy of errors type trip to the Houston Galleria - at the start of the holiday season. We thought it was appropriate to reprise this (slightly updated) story and once again take you along this not quite seamless journey - not merely because we are now T-5 days till Christmas but also because there are still countless malls across the U.S., struggling to reinvent themselves in light of the increased demand for more walkable, authentic places AND of course the dominance of online shopping, especially giants like Amazon. TLDR - State of Place can help mall owners, developers, and retailers identify the best properties primed for redevelopment, prioritize changes that are most likely to make the existing mall more walkable - and desirable, AND forecast how these changes will actually boost commercial (and residential) rents and revenues - and of course up ROI - so you can get the biggest bang for the buck AND truly make holiday shopping (and all other trips) jolly! Schedule a demo or sign up for your free trial to learn more!
With only 12 (shopping) days left till Christmas, we’ve released our third annual holiday gift guide, chock full of unique, awesome gifts, perfect for all the urban planners, data geeks and city-lovers - budding, amateur, or pro-level - in your life! Check out our team members’ top picks for the holiday season - beware though, you may end up picking up something for yourself too! :) Treat ‘yo self!
Yesterday, on Innovate Durham Demo Day, Devin Nieusma, our Customer Development Intern, presented the results of our pilot project to help the City of Durham use data to quickly, affordably, and effectively “Get to Zero” (pedestrian, bicyclists, and motorist deaths. Dig deep into our results, which shows how urban design, as measured by State of Place, impacts the odds and probabilities of collisions. TLDR; Design matters - quite simply, intersections in which people have lost their lives are just not designed to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and even motorists, safe - period.
This giving Tuesday, as you’re deciding which organization to donate to or pondering the effectiveness of encharging your hard earned dollars to non-profits to begin with, we thought it to would be timely to discuss the role of not for profit advocacy groups and philanthropic agencies in citymaking, and urge you to consider donating to one of these worthy organizations given their increasingly pivotal role in citymaking.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is our third annual installment of our gratitude post - one of our favorite posts of the year where all of our team members say thanks for place, places, and other things they cherish in their lives. We just want to take this time to thank YOU all for your support, enthusiasm, and openness to a slightly different way of creating awesome places people love! We hope to help many more of you in 2019 and spotlight you here!
What are the top five things I can do to boost walkability? I get asked a version of this question a LOT. Like, ALL. THE. TIME. I get it. It's the Twitter era (nope, not going there...). 140 characters or bust. People want easy answers, simple solutions, soundbite fixes - even when the problems are complex...especially when they're complex. Nuance? Details? Qualifiers? That's for academics (yeah, no kidding!). This is why articles like "4 ways to make a city more walkable" and "7 simple ways to make every city friendlier for pedestrians" are such effective click-bait and why there are so many "walkability checklists." But can you really create a formula for walkability, livability, great places?