Chris Leinberger on the Option of Urbanism at the Kansas City Public Library

On April 18, 2012, Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS, visited Kansas City, MO to discuss walkable neighborhoods as part of the Kansas City Public Libraries series on What Makes a Great City.

Leinberger’s discussion focused on how government policy over the last 60 years has encouraged suburban sprawl. The result: decline of community, urban decay, pollution, and a rise in obesity and asthma. But there’s a new approach (or perhaps it’s an old approach) in which citizens live, work, and play within easy walking distance.

Leinberger noted in particular Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza, a 15-block shopping district with over 150 stores. As he explains in the speech above, Country Club Plaza “was the first regionally significant, walkable urban place built from scratch in this country. And you had to wait over 50 until the next one showed up…And it was just in a whole different specturm, a whole different universe. That was what Country Club Plaza was when it was first built.” By learning from these goals, Leinberger explains, Kansas City can join towns across the country helping their downtowns thrive.

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