Restrictive Zoning is Killing Americans – Walking

Your New Year’s resolution should probably be to walk more. Gil Penalosa and Jonathan Berk tell us why in a couple tweets:

@Penalosa_G, @berkie1

What does the common sense advice have to do with zoning? How much you walk is very dependent on where you live. If you live in a place with sidewalks, amenities, and the area is safe you will be more likely to walk. Unfortunately, tons of people in America don’t live in places that are conducive to walking. Below is graph from Fitbit in 2015. Even in the winter residents of Illinois, New York and California walk more than those in the South.

If we could move people from the light states to the dark states our population would be much healthier. People walking more would save lives. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening.

The relatively restrictive zoning laws in California, Chicago and New York prevent these desirable locations from building housing to accommodate more people. Because the desirable, walkable, neighborhoods in these states are not building enough the demand for housing is being met by the states in the South. The map to the right shows where new housing is being built. Unfortunately very few dark states are growing, which has massive public health implications.

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