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Brattleboro’s Walkable Downtown and Why It Matters

20 June, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


America needs walkable communities—neighborhoods and town and city centers where people find can find stores, cafes, offices, communities activities, and other amenities within walking distance of where they live or work. In a new book, Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities for All, journalist Philip Langdon examines six walkable communities across the US—places that he says have gotten many things right. One of the six, which fills a chapter, is downtown Brattleboro, which he praises for its intact collection of Main Street buildings that bring together a useful and enjoyable mix of retailing, restaurants, offices, apartments, and other uses.

Throughout the US, walkable communities are in growing demand as places to live, especially among people in their twenties and thirties and among older couples whose children have left home. In his generously illustrated book, Langdon points out several reasons why such places are good—for individuals and for society as a whole: Pedestrian-oriented communities help people become healthier by incorporating exercise into their daily routines. These communities consume less energy per person, and are easier on the natural environment. They provide more opportunities to meet and connect with others. And they stimulate conversation about local issues and concerns.

Philip Langdon, formerly senior editor of the national newsletter New Urban News/Better Cities & Towns, interviewed many people in Brattleboro while working on the book. He will talk about what he discovered, including local efforts to save Brooks House, expand the array of downtown housing, make streets safer, create new public spaces, and add to the town’s amenities. Langdon lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and has written for periodicals including The Atlantic, CityLab, Progressive Architecture, and Planning Magazine.

The other communities explored in Within Walking Distance are Greater Center City Philadelphia; the East Rock section of New Haven; the Little Village section of Chicago; the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; and the Cotton District in Starkville, Mississippi. His previous books include A Better Place to Live; American Houses; and Orange Roofs, Golden Arches: The Architecture of American Chain Restaurants.


20 June, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Strolling of the Heifers


The River Garden
157 Main Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301 United States
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