Monday, May 19, 2008


Le Gmaps Pedometer va-t-il refaire découvrir aux américains la marche à pied, et surtout la marche à pied en ville ? Peut-être . En tout cas ce service de Google est largement utilisé aujourd'hui par les groupes de pression qui tentent aujourd'hui de prôner un "walkable urbanism".

Une notion nouvelle aux Etats-Unis et que ses promoteurs expliquent comme suit : "Walkable urbanism is the development approach that creates pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use and mixed-income places. These places can either be regional-serving (anchored by regionally important employment, cultural and civic institutions, retail and urban entertainment as well as residential) or local-serving (residential with local-serving commercial). Both places benefit tremendously by being transit-oriented." (Plus d'infos )

Tout l'enjeu, vous l'aurez compris, est de remettre à plat l'urbanisme traditionnel américain, avec, en appui, des schémas comme ceux ci-dessous qui ont le grand mérité de la clarté.

Le "mauvais urbanisme" des suburbs lié à la voiture et qui ne permet pas de faire grand chose pour ceux qui souhaitent se déplacer à pied

Le "bon urbanisme" dense qui permet l'accès à pied à de nombreux services urbains.

Aujourd'hui, le walkable urbanism devient très tendance, notamment auprès de la Generation X qui attend d'autre chose de la ville que leurs parents.

Preuve, parmi beaucoup d'autres, avec cet article publié par Cole Cunningham dans FN Mag édité à Tulsa (Oklahoma).

"Gen X’ers are speaking out across the nation and setting a new trend towards walkable urbanism – a place you can live, work, shop and play – all within walking distance.

This trend has already hit critical mass in cities such as Washington DC., Denver, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle, which are rated as our country’s most walkable cities. Will Tulsa follow this trend?

Tulsans have been living the so-called American Dream for the past 50-60 years. The big house, gas guzzlers in the driveway and a big lawn to mow are part of the low density suburban lifestyle consumers have dictated in the past. But is the American Dream changing ?

We drive to work, we drive to the grocery store, and we drive to the gym these days. The problems are becoming clearer as developments continue to rise further away from downtown. Effects of sub-urbanism have begun to take their toll on our health and environment, with driving being linked to an increased rate of obesity and greenhouse gas emissions.

With pent up demand from Gen X-ers coming into the housing scene, we can shift the tide. What this new demographic wants is largely a walkable urban lifestyle. In fact, national studies suggest that 30-40% of total people want a walkable urban lifestyle, and an even larger percentage of younger generations and empty nesters.

And the best part is, with Walkable Urbanism MORE=BETTER. In contrast to sub-urbanism, the more people that join this movement, the better these areas become. As more people move into walkable areas, more restaurants and entertainment venues open making these areas even more attractive and desirable

Quand Tokyo et sa densité urbaine (ici, le carrefour de Shibuya) devient une référence pour une certaine génération américaine.

Stranded in Suburbia

Dans le cadre de ces nouvelles réflexions, l'Europe redevient aussi un modèle. "I have seen the future, and it works.
O.K., I know that these days you’re supposed to see the future in China or India, not in the heart of “old Europe.
” écrivait ainsi récemment l'éditorialiste Paul Krugman, dans le New-York Times sous le titre Stranded in Suburbia

"But we’re living in a world in which oil prices keep setting records, in which the idea that global oil production will soon peak is rapidly moving from fringe belief to mainstream assumption. And Europeans who have achieved a high standard of living in spite of very high energy prices — gas in Germany costs more than $8 a gallon — have a lot to teach us about how to deal with that world.
If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much.

Et il finissait son article par "Still, if we’re heading for a prolonged era of scarce, expensive oil, Americans will face increasingly strong incentives to start living like Europeans — maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives."