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Bruce Appleyard: Portland, OR

In 1992, concerned elementary school parents and neighbors asked Bruce Appleyard to help them deal with a dangerous traffic situation that was keeping kids from safely walking or biking to their school.

Based on his research on neighborhood walkability using "cognitive maps," Appleyard asked the elementary school kids to sketch maps of their neighborhood, marking their home, school, friends' houses, danger zones and places they liked to play. Comparing their maps with those of children in other neighborhoods who were exposed to lighter levels of traffic, he was able to illustrate the necessary improvements for increasing walkability and helped obtain funding. The neighborhood received a $40,000 grant to build paths and improve crosswalks along the busiest, most dangerous streets leading to the elementary school.

“Creating environments where people can freely engage in physical activity along their way to school, work or play has been a primary mission of mine throughout my career,” says Appleyard, whose first child was born this month.

This is one among many examples of Appleyard’s contribution to redesigning our neighborhoods and cities for active living and a healthier environment. Working with numerous communities across the country, he has been a catalyst for smart growth practices and policies through the integration of transportation, land use and urban design.

Appleyard says he’s motivated by helping people to “reach important destinations through their own power—either by walking or rolling.”

“I strive to design environments where people can live in close proximity and via safe links to their important destinations, such as schools, employment and shopping opportunities,” says Appleyard. “They can easily become more physically active while enjoying their neighborhoods and building a stronger connection with their community.”

As an accomplished project manager, author, speaker and instructor, Bruce brings his experience and insight to the challenges of creating joyful communities that are economically viable. Currently Bruce is working as a consultant as he pursues his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. Bruce can be reached at or

Learn more:

Planning Safe Routes to Schools,” Planning

Image Mapping as a Tool to Guide Transportation and Community Planning,” Alliance for a New Transportation Charter

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