Azara Blog: Prince Charles wants people to walk and cycle more

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Date published: 2006/01/26

The BBC says:

The Prince of Wales has urged more people to walk and cycle in a bid to tackle unhealthy living.

He raised concerns Britain was closely following the US in the consumption of fast food and lack of exercise.

Speaking to a conference in London on design and health, he said: "We are perhaps not far behind our American cousins in the 'supersizing' epidemic."

Charles blamed the infrastructure of towns and cities for discouraging pedestrians and physical activity.

The prince questioned the role town planning had in promoting people's health.

"Research... suggests that walking or cycling for just half an hour a day can have a significant improvement on our state of health.

"But why don't we do it more?"

Referring to research by fellow speaker Dr Richard Jackson, the prince said it was often "because our towns and cities make it nearly impossible, and because it might help if the built environment was more attractive and appealing to the pedestrian".

More mumbling from Prince Charles, who gets driven or taken by train or flown everywhere. And in modern Britain most people do not live near enough to their workplace to walk or cycle to it. (Some people are willing to cycle ten miles to work, but they are in a minority.) The most exercise some people get is probably walking around a large shopping mall, and that is hardly an "attractive" built environment in any sense of the word that Prince Charles means. And food is much cheaper now than it used to be, so people quite naturally eat more. And cars are not just a plaything of the rich now, ordinary people can afford them, so people quite naturally go more places by car now than once upon a time. So the "attractiveness" or not (according to Prince Charles and his ilk) of the built environment is only one small part of a bigger picture. (Well, the way he normally speaks it seems he would be happy to ban cars for everybody but the rich like himself, as part of the "cure" for this alleged "problem".)

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