“Our feet and legs relate inversely to our bellies and bottoms. When we use our feet and legs less, our bellies and bottoms grow larger. And vice versa.”

In “Walking the Walk” in the April 2012 issue of Governing Magazine, Alex Marshall asks “How do we encourage walking and biking in our spread-out landscape?” He explains that physical proximity is important and that our metro areas have been increasing in size faster than our population has been growing. We’re spreading ourselves out too far.

Marshall speaks to the merits of living more compactly and how state and local governments might manage this. He also explains through reference to Patrick Condon’s 2004 study Canadian Cities, American Cities, and I found this comparison very interesting, that up until World War II, Canadian and American cities were very similar in form. Afterwards, American cities began to sprawl outward quickly as we built more highways and funneled more tax revenue to building roads. The result is that we spend much more time in the car than our neighbors to the north.