Above all, Walkonomics is the most important art of a big city, the "art of creating streets and urban areas that are pedestrian friendly." A leading figure of this art is, of course, Jan Gehl, the Danish urban designer who, among many other achievements, helped transform Melbourne...

Working with the City of Melbourne in 1993 (Gehl was invited by the council to conduct a Public Spaces and Public Life survey – and again for a 2004 update), a key recommendation was to create opportunities for outdoor dining, mimicking the success of the grand boulevards of Paris and the communal squares of Rome. The suggestion was ridiculed in a city famous for its icy southerlies and four-seasons-in-one-day climate. Yet, twenty years later, Melbourne boasts the highest ratio of street furniture per person in the world; outdoor cafes have increased from less than 50 in 1990 to over 600 today; the number of pedestrians in the city on weekday evenings has doubled; and Swanston Street has more pedestrians per day than Regent Street in London.

But here is the thing: In Seattle, we hate pedestrians so much that we even punish them for crossing the street at sections that are convenient for them and maybe inconvenient for drivers. But how in the world, considering the state of the world, can you punish anyone for any kind of walking? Indeed, jaywalking should be encouraged as it would make driving more difficult, more unpleasant, more frustrating. Cars should by law be forced to slow down and stop when a pedestrian decides to cross any street at any time. And if the driver doesn't, if he/she forces the pedestrian to step back, he/she should be punished with an enormous fee. The ethical understanding must be that the city is for walkers, not for cars. That kind of ethic reasons with the state of our reality.