From the CEO
It has long been my habit to take phone calls, weather permitting while walking outside. I have done some staff meetings while walking. I just think better standing and walking.
Walking increases brain connectivity and cognitive function through increased blood flow and the growth of new neurons. Walking encourages the release of those valuable neurotransmitters, endorphins, helping both memory and creative thought. Steve Jobs, Apple co-creator, took a walk when he faced a challenging problem or needed to think through a situation. One Stanford study showed a creative boost of 60% after a walk outside, a boost that continued even after the conclusion of the walk.
But this is the privilege of the able-bodied and sometimes depends on where you live. How does one reap the benefit of those endorphins in the neighborhood where, because of traffic or safety, walking is ill-advised? The sidewalk that is passable for the able-bodied person may be unnavigable for the person with crutches or in a wheelchair. Yet they can still benefit from that meditation of short travel if the path is navigable.
How does one find the joy of clearing one’s thoughts when intersections are unsafe to cross, or the path is uneven? I may live where there are sidewalks, but if they are not cleared of snow or ice, my gaze is focused on my footing rather than on my thoughts.
Sidewalks that are uneven, fractured, or buckled become barriers rather than paths to independence. With city repaired and expanded sidewalks and trails, we create an environment that is good for the neurological development of everyone.
Whether solved by walking, wheeling, or hitching a ride, solving the problems of unnavigable sidewalks may be “paving” the way for new health, creativity, and well-being for more in our city.