Urban Walking: A Legal High
This I know is true: going for a walk makes me feel good, great in fact. In his book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, Charles Montgomery points out that the effects of walking on mental health are clear: “Walking works like a drug, and it starts working even after a few steps.”
Unfortunately, in Canada, we are engineering walking out of our lives. The majority of our children are driven everywhere. Currently, only about 12 per cent of North American kids walk or cycle for transportation. Just one generation ago, those figures were completely the opposite. Most kids walked, strolled, and chatted with friends on their way to school or the bus stop. They did this without parents, and if they were late, it was their own fault. The independence, the sense of freedom, that walking provides to kids trumps all the other benefits of self-propelled travel. It gives children some time away from the controlling world of hovering adults.
The sense of freedom and happiness walking provides to everyone is legal, simple, and cheap. It works like a charm to bring happiness to all who choose to take that first step.
Take a virtual urban walkabout throughout Calgary right now- watch the video!