By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Paris — the city of lights and love, and a destination for millions of tourists — could that be the future Pittsburgh with some sensible, healthy-focused city planning?

“Pittsburgh has wonderful parks, and you also have that wonderful next to the river walking pathway,” says Dr. Richard Jackson, a physician and urban designer.

Jackson, who teaches at UCLA, says Paris is a good example of a healthy city that Pittsburgh could become.

“The way we’ve built America makes it hard for us to be fit and eat well, and we ought to be building places that make it easy to walk, easy to exercise, easy to get healthy food,” Jackson told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Jackson says Pittsburgh — with a focus on downtown living and its many neighborhoods — harkens back to a healthier time when work, schools, church, retail and grocery stores were all within walking distance from home.

“People could meet most of their life needs without having to get into a car. Most Americans are owned by their cars, rather than the other way around,” he adds.

An award-winning advocate of designing healthy living environments, California’s former top public health official thinks there just might be a touch of Paris on the banks of our rivers.

“People pay good money to go to places like Paris which is very dense, and they greatly enjoy the fact that there’s a restaurant on the first floor and there’s a place where you can buy fresh food and flowers right nearby,” Jackson said.

While Pittsburgh may have the basics for a healthy urban design, every rush hour on the parkways suggests how far we really have to go.

Still, if more walk-able or bike-able neighborhoods makes us healthier, thinking Paris may be a worthwhile goal.


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