What wide footpaths tell us


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.

2 thoughts on “What wide footpaths tell us

  1. It is true. I remember the wide footpaths in front of our lanes laid by Britishers. But it was during our childhood. It was a luxury and safe for people for cycling playing and better walking path for elders. Our parents never worried when we went alone to nearby shops. But present generation lost all those luxuries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the biggest challenges in planning urban infrastructure in the developing world is population growth in urban areas. While writing this post, I noticed how Hannover and Berlin’s population is practically unchanged since 1960, whereas Bangalore’s population has increased 5x in this period.


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