Tag Archives: walkable cities

How Dangerous Streets Limit People’s Experience of Their Neighborhood

5 Mar

How Dangerous Streets Limit People’s Experience of Their Neighborhood.

Okay, one more. This article is again about walkable streets and their connection to safety.

There were two murders in my Pasadena neighborhood in the past week. I wonder if these murders would have happened if more folks were around — a kind of accountability with the presence of people.

Each murder was accomplished with a gun. So of course the solution is more complex than simply better visibility and more eyes on the street.

It’s my view that we need to limit guns. Jesus said one sword was enough — and in the same breath, that those who live by the sword die by the sword. We are to put our trust in God for our protection, not violence.

But we also find the presence of God in each other, often unexpectedly, as we meet on streets.

We met the presence of God last week when we gathered around on the streets, with the candles and pictures and the families who had lost their loved ones. We cried with them and heard stories of these two youth, 19 and 18, who were vibrant, fun-loving souls. May we all find unexpected joy in our streets.

Jill Shook

How Simple Physical Activity Could Stave Off Depression

5 Mar

How Simple Physical Activity Could Stave Off Depression.

Okay, so my blog is about affordable housing, but there is a close link between sufficient density to create affordable units, proximity to jobs, and places we frequent so that we can walk and stave off depression.

I found myself falling into depression yesterday. This article was part of what helped to lift my spirits. I have also been reading “City of God, City of Satan: A Biblical Theology of the Urban Church” by Robert Linthicum, and was encouraged by his comment on page 176:

“If people believe they are helpless to do anything about the forces that constrain them, then they are indeed helpless.”

We have the power to create change in our cities when we show up at Planning Commission and City Council meetings. Our group of housing advocates in Pasadena, CA, also spends one-on-one time with these leaders.

I thank God that with his help I had the courage to walk out of the downward cycle of depression I was in yesterday.

Jill Shook

Housing, Health and Walkable Cities

5 Mar

Donald and I have recently began dialoguing about housing.  The conversation quickly moved to zoning changes needed to better plan our cities. Higher density housing often provides the opportunity for affordable units to be included… and it is often coupled with walkable streets.

If you ask people why they live where they do, most of the time it has to do with the cost of housing and safety. Where I live in Pasadena, the freeways are jammed from 3-7 pm with folks going home to what they see as safer, better, and often bigger and more affordable housing.

But they don’t always realize how this has a huge cost on the health of the environment, our bodies, our families and more.

Much research is being done on how to design our cities in a way that our jobs are closer to where we can afford to live, and with more walkable distances between where we live, shop, and work.

Jonathan, my other friend who is working on creating “complete streets” here in Pasadena, sent me this wonderful video from Every Body Walk. “Complete streets” allow space for bikes, walking, and cars — but cars slowed a bit to safer speeds.


I was inspired. I hope you are as well. Let me know what you think. Jill Shook

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