By Brianna Eliza Castillo What is walkability and how is it integrated into society?  As a part of Plan Viva Laredo’s objective, walkability’s purpose is to “improve quality of life and retain local talent.” The walkability of a community depends on how  the environment and its people are integrated to establish a welcoming social sphere for those who are traveling, grocery shopping, or just simply enjoying a certain district.  85% of money spent on driving leaves the local economy because of suburban sprawl.  We are spending more on transportation than home investment.   To give a clearer view, we are spending 32% on transportation and as little as 29% on housing. For a city’s annual cost per household in an urban area, the prices go as follows: Parks and Recreation would add up to $69, Solid Waste would add up to $185, the Fire Department would add up to $177, Governance would add up to 158$, the Police would add up to $192, Transportation would add up to $91, Libraries would add up to 38$, School Bussing would add up to $13, Culture and Economy would add up to $91, Roads would add up to $26, Transfers to Provinces (e.g. School Boards) would add up to $232, Sidewalks and Curbs would add up to $27, Storm and Waste Water would add up to $147, and Water would add up to $42.  Together, the total would be $1,416.  Just a reminder to our readers, the total sum recorded is averaged to a city’s annual cost per household in an urban area and/or city.   For a city’s annual cost per household in a suburban area, the prices go as followed: Parks and Recreation would add up to $129, Solid Waste would add up to $185, the Fire Department would add up to $406, Governance would add up to $29, the Police would add up to $360, Transportation would add up to $171, Libraries would add up to $72, School Bussing would add up to $87, Culture and Economy would add up to $36, Roads would add up to $280, Transfers to Provinces would add up to $435, Sidewalks and Curbs would add up to $194, Storm and Waste Water would add up to $613, and Water would add up to $197. Altogether, the total would sum up to $3,462. Again, just a reminder to our readers, the total sum recorded is averaged to a city’s annual cost per household in a suburban area and/or city.   According to Jeff Speck, in his book Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, “a significant number of our fellow citizens will never trade their cul-de-sacs and SUVs for any other option. But, as we have seen, more Americans are desirous of vibrant urban living than are being offered that choice, and those cities that can satisfy that unmet demand, will thrive.”   In a collaborative effort between the community, city government, and urban planners, a comprehensive plan is a strategic guide for a city’s growth and Plan Viva Laredo can help us get there.
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