This is a photograph of Beacon Hill, Boston.
It is a fascinating early 19th century neighborhood with narrow streets.
It’s a national historic district and is very well preserved.
Houses are well maintained with low traffic streets and gas lit street lighting.
This town seems as it would feel like a real community, unlike much of our newer towns.
A common misperception is that the current American state of auto-dependency is a result of the free market doing its work. In fact, a variety of government interventions ensure that the transportation market is skewed towards car-ownership. These policy biases are too numerous to list exhaustively, but a few merit special recognition: …
… Zoning requirements in most municipalities mandate that shops and houses must be separated. It is widely illegal to build the old small-town main street with the mix of shops, houses, and apartments that many find charming (so charming that some of these towns have been turned into tourist attractions). Furthermore, in most states it is mandatory for new schools to be built next to hundreds of acres playing fields, and thus far away from residential neighborhoods (see this report and this paper for a fuller discussion of policies that affect travel to school). These and similar regulations ensure that there are no shops or schools that is, major household destinations within walking distance of the average American’s home, which in turn requires the average American to own and use a car, not merely to commute to work but to perform basic tasks like picking up a gallon of milk or sending the kids off to school in the morning.
This is a very interesting article you should take a look at. I think it’s closely related to some of the things we’re trying to do with the small house movement and building better communities.
It makes sense to have more close knit communities where people can walk and ride bicycle to more destinations like work, school and the grocery store. That way the community can be less dependent on personal vehicles.