World’s most walkable and pedestrian-friendly cities

World’s most walkable and pedestrian-friendly cities
May 19, 2023






San Fransisco

San Fransisco

Walking in a city is probably the best way to experience metropolitan life as it allows you to gauge the real pulse of the city. Whether you are a flaneur traveller or a health-conscious urban dweller, you would understand that metropolitan living is made for pedestrians, and the world’s best liveable cities are designed with pedestrians in mind.

The 21st century’s most liveable metropolitans have revived and redesigned their streets, public parks, pathways, and public realms in city planning to encourage less motorised traffic, more pedestrian spaces and attractions, thus less pollution and congestion. For urban dwellers, a walkable city means a shorter commute to work. This also means education and public healthcare services are within short distances to urban housing communities, car-free friendly locations, and availability of public spaces such as parks, waterfronts, shopping areas and R&R spaces within the living spaces in urban setups. Here are some of the best cities around the world for walking and meandering.


Paris, France

As part of a city-wide effort to reduce cars, some roads along the Seine River were fully pedestrianised in late to support the "15-minute city", a new urban planning concept that allows residents to complete their daily routine within the distance of a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Additional bike lanes have also been introduced to alleviate car traffic with bike facilities up to 180km and 180,000 bike parking spots by 2026. Major throughways like the Rue de Rivoli in central Paris have been reduced to one lane, while cyclist paths have been expanded to three lanes.

To encourage more walking, the city also plans to plant 170,000 trees by 2026, along with the intention of cooling Paris to make it more comfortable and enjoyable for pedestrians. In anticipation of the city's hosting of the 2024 Olympics, the bridge between the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero will be fully pedestrianised.


Seoul, South Korea

The capital city of South Korea, Seoul is a dynamic and ever-evolving metropolis. In response to the growing need for highly walkable spaces within a very fast developing city, the Seoul Metropolitan Government introduced the Walkable City programme in 2016. With the tagline “Goodbye Car, Good Day Seoul,” the programme creates a network of pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly pathways through the reconfiguration and connection of existing roads that are safe and accessible. The programme is making spaces in the city that are people-friendly, free from traffic congestion, and are well-connected to main attractions and working areas.

While Seoul is highly regarded for its liveability, the compact nature of the city landscape and the controlled urban planning help in creating this human-centric network of pathways.


Bogotá, Colombia

Cycling is the national sports of Colombia and the capital encourages cycling as part of the lifestyle along with walking. The pandemic had accelerated many car-free changes for the city of Bogota. In 2020, Mayor Claudia Lopez designated an additional 84km of temporary bike lanes to the city's existing 550km Ciclorruta bike path network –one of the largest in the world. Bogotá was among the first cities to add "pop-up" cycle lanes during the pandemic. On Sundays and public holidays, cars are banned from certain roads in a car-free day programme known as the Ciclovia.

The city's new electric buses have also improved the public transportation system significantly. With pedestrian-friendly pathways and cycle lanes aplenty, tourists and urban communities are experiencing a much better quality of life with less noise and gas pollutions.


San Francisco, USA

San Francisco has launched a city-sponsored programme called WalkFirst, which works to improve pedestrian safety and walking conditions with sidewalk buffers, revamped intersections, and better lighting in key pedestrian areas city-wide. This California city moved quickly during the pandemic to launch Slow Streets, using dedicated signage and barriers to limit car traffic and motor speeds on 30 corridors in an effort to make them more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly. This initiative saw a 50% reduction in vehicle traffic, a 17% increase in weekday pedestrian traffic, and a 65% jump in weekday cyclist traffic.The city has also invested money and effort into building better bike routes and bike safety features throughout San Francisco.


Pedestrian-friendly cities are not just about creating less cars on the road but also encouraging a better lifestyle option and making any city more liveable by any standard. And a more pedestrian-friendly city is most importantly people-centric, which is the core of any urban neighbourhood. Making cities more pedestrian-friendly calls for better planning in considering the human side of development. This includes the involvement of policymakers, developers, and community voices. A pedestrian-friendly city can boost their residents’ mental and physical well-being, creativity, promotes more small-scale entrepreneurships to aid the local economy and boosts civic engagements.


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