Combatting suburban sprawl
The Cascadia Scorecard for 2006, is put together by a Seattle based environmental organization, the Sightline Institute. According to their website, "The Scorecard highlights steps toward a region where people are healthier, more satisfied with their lives, and surrounded by thriving nature." Aspects of this include: Sprawl and health, wildlife, economy, energy, population, and pollution. The results indicate that living in compact urban areas is healthier, and trends are moving towards more walkable communities which are more efficient and less reliant on energy/fossil fuels.
The editorial encourages the U.S. to continue in this direction, following our better rated Canadian counterparts, "Americans deserve healthy lives as much as their Canadian neighbors. Better planning of cities (not to mention a more rational system of health care) would help walk us in that direction."
This topic falls in line with one of the final presentations I attended at the World Urban Forum, on energy and transportation (which was probably the best one of the week). The consensus of the speakers was to create communities within urban areas that are walkable, and that we should (re)design/plan areas with people in mind, not cars. Doing this will make our urban-suburban areas more vibrant and livable (not to mention, reduce traffic.)