Fat City

Another article has appeared on the relationship between the design of cities and towns, and the obesity rates of their occupants. MSNBC’s article draws a direct link between living in older neighborhoods that were designed and built with pedestrians in mind (rather than the all-mighty car) and newer sprawling suburban neighborhoods where nothing is within walking distance. They have a link to a site, walkscore.com, that lists the most walkable neighborhoods in the U.S., and you can input your own location to see how your town rates.  My town, or the area right around my house, ranked a mediocre 62 out of 100. A couple of the results were questionable. It seemed to fail to find the park where the library it listed is located, but named another nearby “park” which is not really a park, it’s more of a wetlands preserve. It missed a number of restaurants that I am aware of, and grocery stores. I have no idea what their criteria is to get listed with them. Perhaps it’s just new and will be refined as time goes on.

Also, on the Walkscore Web site, please sign the petition to “Improve America’s Walkscore”, in support of the 2009 Transportation Bill. Here’s the text of the petition:

Help reduce our vulnerability to oil prices by tripling—or more—the share of funding for walking, biking and public transit.

Build a world-class rail network—both between cities and within them—that links our communities and transports people and goods more efficiently.

Require that roads are safe for everyone using them—including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users, as well as motorists.

I don’t think anyone will be surprised that living in the suburbs is designed for a life that revolves around having to drive everywhere. It’s a tradeoff. If I lived in the city, I wouldn’t be able to garden, but shops and entertainment (movie theaters, bookstores, etc.) would be within walking distance. Right now, I just wish more of the stores in town would install bike racks so I could ride to them. They have them at Target, but not Safeway. Unfortunately my Target trips often involve purchases of things I can’t really carry on a bike (40 lb. box of kitty litter — if anyone has actually managed to haul one of those things on a bike I’d like to know about it!).


About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo.com, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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10 Responses to Fat City

  1. maryjblog says:

    Hi Didge!

    I know I’m fatter now than when I lived & worked in NYC.

    It has actually gotten a little better this summer, since I’ve made a point of leaving my car in one place on campus, and walking around town & the college.

    What’s your name on MY blog now: Witchy or Digital?

  2. Digital Dame says:


    Even where I work, there’s not much chance of walking to anything. Well, we can, but we’re still talking 2 miles there, and 2 miles back to walk someplace for lunch. The whole campus is kind of isolated, I guess that’s why they built in good size cafeterias in all the buildings.

    I’ll probably use this handle now at your place. But I may still show up from time to time as Witchy. I still like that one 😉

  3. Nick says:

    A 40 lb box of kitty litter???!! My word, but those must be very big cats you’re keeping.

  4. Digital Dame says:

    Yeah, I don’t like to brag, but… 😉

    With three of the furry beasts, I have to buy the large economy size. Two of them are strictly indoor cats, then there’s Buster. He’s such a punk. He comes and goes pretty much as he pleases. And he is a big boy!

  5. maryjblog says:

    I’ve only got 1 beast, and I just bought the 40-lb. tub of kitty litter – it’s so much cheaper that way, and that’s not exactly a staple you want to run out of.

    Do you have any pix of Buster? I’ve only ever seen Gracie.

  6. Kyle says:

    I am WITH YOU. I moved to St. Louis from Chicago, and I am shocked at how people scorn walking anywhere. And they seem to hate biking even more! I’m baffled.

    also, maybe you’ll find this interesting:


    Apparently, Obama is too fit to be president?


  7. Digital Dame says:

    Hi Kyle,

    Thanks for coming by. I hope St. Louis will change its attitude, but that kind of change comes slowly, especially in that area. (I know the area a bit, and the general mindset there). Keep on biking, we ride with you in spirit! 🙂

  8. metaljaybird says:

    My neighborhood scored a 57, which I have to disagree, being a recreational neighborhood.

  9. Shucks… I just moved into a 52/100 neighborhood. My last place was in a 74/100 one.

    Definately a trade off though. Our place is much nicer, and less expensive. Although I’m closer to work! Starting to try to ride there. We have showers in the building! Lucky me…

    Thanks for posting that article. I will have to do a post about it.

  10. Digital Dame says:

    Hiya McB,

    Excellent, being closer to work. I’m lucky enough to have showers where I work as well, which I will definitely need doing 12 miles one way. I also jog with a co-worker at lunch sometimes so I already have a lot of my necessities in place. Closer would be better, though.


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