A nudge towards walking saves a mountain of cash
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Review of Intelligent Cities, edited by Susan C. Piedmont-Palladino, National Building Museum, 2011, 120 pp., $25 paperbound.
If a city could get its residents to give up owning 15,000 of their cars, they would save $127 million in gasoline, insurance, purchase price, and finance charges — money that might then become available for spending in the local economy.
That may sound like a wholly hypothetical situation. But Washington, DC, actually saw something of that sort happen. From 2005 to 2009, car registrations in Washington fell by nearly 15,000, even as the District’s population rose by 15,862. How much of the money that was saved remained in the District and how much left it is not known. But surely, some of the money not devoted to vehicles supported Washington’s evolution into an increasingly prosperous and well-kept city.
“Living in a walkable city has value beyond personal convenience — it also allows more of your money to stay closer to home while reducing your carbon footprint,” declares Intelligent Cities, a new book based on a year-long initiative at the National Building Museum.
The car-ownership scenario is one of a broad variety of interesting thoughts raised in this short, lively paperback edited by museum curator Susan