The Importance of Beauty Right at Our Feet

What is it about a beautiful staircase that just begs to be climbed? Whatever the answer, it's a phenomenon which hasn't been lost on the folks at the Center for Active Design. They believe that increased attention to beautifying walkways and staircases could be a way of enticing more Americans to make use of them—as opposed to, say, the elevator or an escalator.

In some ways it seems like an unlikely coupling of abstract, esoteric thinking, with a kind of rigid, bottom-line approach to steps taken and calories burned. But, as we've said before, if design inspires us to be more active—indeed, to want to be more active—then we see no harm in combining the two philosophies.

As countless studies and anecdotal experiences have revealed, exercise is far more likely to feel like work if it's something we do in spite of our true wishes, if we have to force ourselves to complete it. But if we're able to transform it from a chore into a craving—an act to which we are drawn, like, for instance, the climbing of a beautiful structure—than our odds of enjoying and it, and making it a part of our daily lives, is far greater.

So here's to the next, er, step in the relationship between people and the cities they live in!

Hal Ebbott