How to make KC a "real" city . . .

A guest editorial in the KCStar by architect Kevin Klinkenberg has some interesting things to say about the future of Kansas City:
Implied in all the recent and stimulating discussion regarding downtown Kansas City is the simple notion that folks here really want a big city. . . . if we really want to build vibrant street life, we will need to abandon some of our most sacred cows and rethink the current conventional development mind-set. For starters, real cities have all of these characteristics:
  • Walkability. . .
  • Public transportation. . . .
  • Horrible parking "problems." .
  • Traffic congestion . . . Successful cities are not sliced up with freeways.
  • People of all colors and walks of life . . .
  • Limited "open space." . . .
  • All types of housing . . .

To paraphrase a tired political slogan, for cities, it's the pedestrians, stupid. And for pedestrians, what is interesting is activity so close that you can literally reach out and touch it. . . .

The uncomfortable truth of city-building is that our efforts to make things "easier" or more comfortable sap the very life that we are trying so hard to nurture. Sure, parking structures, big roads and freeways make it a breeze to drive downtown. But every step in making it easier to drive is an act of demolition for the pedestrian experience. . . .

A response in the KCStar letters-to-the-editor agrees with Klinkenberg: "Hear, hear to Kevin Klinkenberg's column on 'citifying' Kansas City. . . Part of the challenge in Kansas City and elsewhere is designing spaces that get people out of their cars."

I might add--since it is our topic of interest--that a city that is great for walking is also going to be great for biking . . .