San Franciscans who have visited other cities recently also attributed differences to higher expectations for decency and civility elsewhere. Several readers talked about visiting Japan, where cleaners with tidy uniforms and even flowers pinned to their caps whisk into bullet trains between journeys and ensure they’re immaculate. Signs are posted everywhere telling people not to litter. Public toilets are pristine.
“We counted the number of homeless people we saw in Japan. Eight,” said a co-worker who visited Tokyo and Kyoto for her two-week honeymoon in May. “I pass at least that many on my way to work.”
Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle
via THE WORLD BANK
The data shown is from 1960 to 2018.
Analysis – more people are living in the cities.
In the American city, the typical American city — the typical American city is not Washington, DC, or New York, or San Francisco; it’s Grand Rapids or Cedar Rapids or Memphis — in the typical American city in which most people own cars and the temptation is to drive them all the time, if you’re going to get them to walk, then you have to offer a walk that’s as good as a drive or better. What does that mean? It means you need to offer four things simultaneously: there needs to be a proper reason to walk, the walk has to be safe and feel safe, the walk has to be comfortable and the walk has to be interesting. You need to do all four of these things simultaneously, and that’s the structure of my talk today, to take you through each of those.