The Marin Post

The Voice of the Community

Blog Post

Putting Urbanism in Perspective

I took a walk this morning on the Mill Valley-Sausalito multi-use path that runs along Bothin Marsh on Richardson Bay. On weekdays, when the path is not inundated by speeding packs of road bikers, the walk is a meditative experience: fresh air, peacefulness and wildlife all around.

When I stopped at the small bridge over the inlet to the Tam Junction wetlands, it occurred to me that the one mile I’d just come, from the end of Sycamore Avenue at the Mill Valley Middle School, was the same distance as the length of the Highline walkway on the west side of Manhattan in New York City. The contrast between the two experiences made that almost impossible to believe.

Walking the Highline, from the Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street to the new Hudson Yards development at West 30th Street, could not be more different. The ever-present crowds, the exhaust fumes from cars and truck below, and the constant noise, all of which locals are oblivious to, stand in stark contrast to the calming effect of a morning walk by the Bay.

As someone born and raised in New York City, it made me realize again the immensity of the impacts of urbanism and living in an urban environment... and the benefits of not living in it.

It is hard to believe that the maps and perspective views below, depicting the approximate one mile walks, are in the same scale.

These maps show the route of the one mile walk in Mill Valley and on the Highline in New York City. Click here to enlarge.

These comparative images show the routes from aerial views. Click here to enlarge.

These final comparative views give an idea of what New York City would look like super-imposed on Mill Valley. Again, all these images are in the same scale. Click here to enlarge.