Can China make its city streets more walkable?

(Eco Business, 25 Jun 2019) City planners should spend more money improving smaller streets and reclaiming them from cars, says a new report.

In a new study of 12,740 urban Chinese roads, only 15 scored top marks for pedestrian-friendliness. One in ten roads got no points at all.

The study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Tsinghua University evaluated streets in 50 Chinese cities using a Google Streetview equivalent to create an Environment Score and a Walk Score.

The Environment Score is a kind of pleasantness metric that factors in the frequency of pedestrian crossings, greenery, the height of surrounding buildings and pavement width.

The Walk Score measures interest and utility by counting up the number and variety of shops, restaurants, parks, banks and other amenities. 

Passable does not mean pleasurable

China’s permanent urban population had reached 830 million by the end of 2018. As that number swells so does contention between vehicles and pedestrians. Meanwhile, increasing car ownership contributes to congestion, pollution and other “urban diseases”.

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Eco Business, 25 Jun 2019: Can China make its city streets more walkable?