I crossed this street in the heart of Hannover, and as soon as I did that, I was struck by how narrow the street was in comparison to the footpath. The road has two wide lanes, but is dwarfed by four lanes of footpath (two on each side) that surround it.
Wide footpaths indicate that people who power their own locomotion – pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders take precedence over automobiles. They tell us how urban planning prioritizes the needs of those who are lowest in the hierarchy.
Our behaviour is a product of our surroundings. The wider the footpaths and cycling lanes, the more people exercise and stay fit.
I’ve often wonder how densely populated European cities offer their citizens such high standards of living. The expansive footpaths that straddle and dwarf their arterial roads offer several hints.