What would it take to create a neighborhood where, as a child you can play on your street and around your block, where you know by name people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and abilities because you meet them and talk with them on your way to school on foot or by bike? How can we create a neighborhood where, as an adult, you can walk or take public transit to work, to the movies or to go on vacation, and you have innumerable friends and activities within a few minutes’ bike ride? And how can we create a neighborhood where as an elder, you still have neighborhood friends you knew since childhood, neighbors stop by to check all is well if they don’t see you at your usual haunts, and you still enjoy a high quality of life because you can walk or take your power wheelchair the short distance to the coffee house, the grocery store, the doctor, to play chess in the park, or to visit your grandchildren?
This is what neighborhoods used to be like. We killed that diverse, independent and community-spirited quality of life when we created car-dependent suburban housing. But visionary efforts are under way to revive complete neighborhoods hospitable for people at all stages of life, and abilities.