At the international Walk21 conference this week in Vancouver, British Columbia, an eminent authority on streets boiled the walkability of cities down to the number of street intersections per square mile.
Venice has 1,725 intersections per square mile. "It's very complex, it's very messy, and people walk," said Allan Jacobs, urban design consultant, former San Francisco planning director, and author of Great Streets.
Brasilia, near the opposite end of the spectrum, "has 92 intersections, and you don't walk there," The Vancouver Sun reported Jacobs as saying. "Irvine, California is the classic automobile city. It has just 15 intersections, the lowest I've ever counted."
Other places that are good for pedestrians, Jacobs said, include the Market Street area of San Francisco (300 intersections per square mile), Tokyo (988), Savannah, Georgia (538), Portland, Oregon (341), and Paris (281).
The most complex and messy stret patterns provide the most walkable and enjoyable experiences for both visitors and residents, according to Jacobs.
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