A little light reading: Transportation and health, Summer Parkways, and the density of smart people

How do we pay for our transportation system? Surprise: In our health care system. At least in part, that is.
Choices to drive rather than walk to the transit stop or ride a bike are choices in favor of a sedentary life. When you say yes to the car you say no to moving yourself with personal power and burning a few calories.
Cost shifts are also hidden in food prices thanks to agricultural subsidies for low-quality calories (think high-fructose corn syrup). Cheap bell peppers grown in Chile and shipped to Spokane undercut locally grown produce that doesn’t travel nearly as far. Soda costs less than fruit juice, which at least has some element of real food in it. Ever stop to wonder how that happens?
As Tufts University nutrition researcher Christina Economos said at a recent conference on childhood obesity at WSU Spokane, “We should subsidize the foods we want people to eat.”
This week’s fodder:
Next American City panned the idea of “summer streets” efforts that don’t get people to think much, much differently about street design. What’s wrong with plain old fun, I ask? Our Spokane Summer Parkways will be plenty of fun, thank you very much.
The Density of Smart People: Back in my teenage days Dad used to say, shaking his head gently at me, “For someone who’s supposed to be so smart, you sure don’t have much horse sense.”
That isn’t what the Creative Class folks mean by density—they’re looking at how many smart people (college-educated) per square mile cities have as a measure of their human capital.

Their piece is based on the original analysis by Rob Pitingolo, which turned out to have comments by people asking whether walkability scores and income-based mobility played any role in where smart people choose to live. Maybe everything is ultimately about transportation….

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