Say, ever wonder why this is? It's not like the suburbs popped up overnight. Someone has clearly planned them that way ... and because of this very specific, car-favoring layout, they are doing their level best to contribute to the obesity epidemic.
Originally, the suburbs were pretty friendly to pedestrians. The Regional Planning Association of America, formed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright in 1923, initially devoted themselves to making residential areas that promoted social interaction: tight-knit communities, friendly neighborhoods with cherry pies cooling in every window sill, wacky neighbors to shoot the s**t with every morning while you retrieve the newspaper. Sadly, after the 1950s, urban planners started designing suburbs in a way that favored cars over pedestrians. Purely residential areas started expanding, shops and services crept further and further away, and sidewalks started a slow march to borderline extinction.
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"We can't have sidewalks! We need wide roads to fit this bumper-to-bumper traffic!"
Soon, you couldn't walk anywhere, because there was no handy way to reach anything by walking ... so people stopped that s**t and learned to hop behind the wheel, even if their destination is only a few blocks away.
As a result, obesity rates in newer neighborhoods exploded, while the older neighborhoods with their sidewalks and readily reachable services still kept people walking. It turns out that this everyday exercise is a good way to keep those excess pounds away: for every decade older the neighborhood is, obesity drops by about 8 percent in women and 13 percent in men. Those neighborhoods date back to an era when it wasn't assumed that everyone had a car was willing to drive the extra couple of miles to CostCo if it meant saving 20 cents on a case of pickles.
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"We had to walk to the corner store, uphill, both ways. And they only had pickle juice, because of the war."