New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Walking as a Way of Life

December 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Jay Walljasper

A New Movement for Health and Happiness

by Jay Walljasper

Researchers have discovered a “wonder drug” for many of today’s most common medical problems, says Dr. Bob Sallis, a family practitioner at a Kaiser Permanente clinic in Fontana, California. It’s been proven to help treat or prevent diabetes, depression, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety and osteoporosis, Sallis told leaders at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, D.C.

“The drug is called walking,” Sallis announced. “Its generic name is physical activity.” Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones as well as looking and feeling better. (more…)

Walking Revolution

April 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Jay Walljasper

A Path to Health and Wellbeing Is Right Under Our Feet

by Jay Walljasper

The next big healthcare breakthrough — which could cut rates of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s by at least 40 percent and save Americans $100 billion a year — comes from a place you’d least expect. On your block. At the park. Everywhere.

So what’s this amazing treatment, which also happens to be easy, enjoyable and virtually free? It’s as simple as taking a walk.

“Walking is like medicine for my patients,” says Dr. Bob Sallis — a Kaiser Permanente family practitioner from Fontana, California—describing the connection between how much time his patients spend walking and their overall health. “If walking was a pill or surgical procedure, it would be on 60 Minutes.”

“Being physically active is one of the most important things people of all ages can do for their health,” explains Joan Dorn of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She notes that walking ranks #1 as Americans’ favorite physical activity, and that doing it for as little as 30 minutes is one way to achieve significant health benefits. (more…)

Less Waste/Waist

April 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

Everyone Benefits When More People Bike and Walk

by Jay Walljasper

For the past year powerful voices around Washington have singled out programs to improve biking and walking as flagrant examples of wasteful government spending.

Since last summer, proposals have flown around the Capitol to strip away all designated transportation funds for biking and walking — even though biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trips across America but receive only 1.6 percent of federal funding.

But last week the U.S. House of Representatives — the hotbed of opposition to bike and walking as well as transit programs — voted to extend the current surface transportation bill for another three months, saving the funding of bike and ped programs. The Senate followed two hours later. (This marks the ninth extension of the existing transportation bill since 2009 and another victory for the growing movement to ensure federal support for biking and walking projects.) (more…)

Transforming City Life

July 06, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Jay Walljasper

Pedestrianizing Urban Space and Undoing the ‘Auto-cracy’

by Jay Walljasper

I am perplexed by the almost complete lack of pedestrian districts in North America.  Why is it that car-free streets — designed for pleasurable strolling, shopping, and hanging out — which have become as common as stoplights or McDonald’s in European city centers, are almost non-existent here?

I’ve only seen a few — a couple of blocks in downtown Boston, Rue Prince Arthur in Montreal, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and short stretches of downtown streets in college towns like Boulder, Ithaca, Iowa City, Charlottesville, and Burlington, Vermont.  (A glance at Wikipedia turns up a few more, although I notice many on the list, like the Nicollet Mall here in Minneapolis, are not truly car-free.) (more…)

Expanding Bike Programs

June 15, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper

A Modest Proposal in a Time of Shrinking Budgets, Soaring Gas Prices

by Jay Walljasper

Gas prices have raced toward four bucks for the second time in three years. So it’s more crucial than ever to find quick, enduring ways to free our nation from over-dependence on oil.

Millions of Americans suffer when prices at the pump rise, because they have no alternative to driving almost everywhere they go. We need to create a transportation system that will not be held hostage by volatile fuel prices.

Here’s some good news: Over the past few years, simple infrastructure improvements (bike paths, lanes, etc) making it more convenient and safe for people to bike and walk have been constructed coast-to-coast. Cities from New York to Minneapolis to San Francisco have enjoyed 100 percent or more increases in the number of people biking to work, school, and shopping. (more…)

Happiness is a Warm Neighborhood

April 14, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Ecology, Family, Jay Walljasper

Designing Our Communities on ‘Common Ground’

by Jay Walljasper

Biology is destiny, declared Sigmund Freud. But if Freud were around today, he might say “design is destiny” — especially after taking a stroll through most American cities.

The way we design our communities plays a huge role in how we experience our lives.  Neighborhoods built without sidewalks, for instance, mean that people walk less and therefore experience fewer spontaneous encounters, which is what instills a spirit of community to a place. That’s a chief cause of the social isolation so rampant in the modern world that contributes to depression, distrust, and other maladies.

You don’t have to be a therapist to realize all this creates lasting psychological effects. It thwarts the connections between people that encourage us to congregate, cooperate, and work for the common good. We retreat into ever more privatized existences. (more…)

Whose Streets?

March 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

A Battle Rages Over Bikes and Pedestrians in New York City

by Jay Walljasper

A controversy over the commons has erupted in the streets of New York. At issue are the streets themselves, which in principle belong to everyone. But some New York drivers don’t want to start sharing them with pedestrians and bikes.

New York is America’s least auto-dependent city — more than half of all households do not even own a car (75 percent don’t in Manhattan). And the city is nearly flat as a pancake.

So New York ought to be a paradise for biking and walking. Well, except for the traffic, which is world-famous for being treacherous. Yet over the past four years, the city’s death rate from traffic accidents has dropped to its lowest level since cars invaded the streets a century ago — and that includes the lives of motorists as well as bike riders and pedestrians. (more…)