From Pedshed to PubShed – your 5 minute stumbling distance to good beer

Placeshakers –Scott Doyon

Most folks with an interest in planning issues are no doubt familiar with the pedestrian shed or ped shed. The idea is simple. Experience has shown us that the average person will walk, without hesitation or undue kvetching, to destinations they can reach in under five minutes — in practical terms, about a quarter mile — beyond which they begin to consider other modes of travel….

My town of Decatur, Georgia — already pretty walkable, especially by Sun Belt standards — has, for the past 15 years or so, been developing a thriving pub scene. In addition to some long-time institutions already in place, we now have a growing number of neighborhood-friendly taverns spread around town.

These are where neighbors go, hang out, and get to know each other, and they’ve contributed to the fact that, here in Decatur, craft beer has pretty much become a de facto component of the city’s economic development strategy. So that got me thinking. Based on our existing establishments, what portion of our residents have a neighborhood pub in the truest sense of the term?

The result? The pub shed — a diagrammatic look at walkability and beer.

See it below (and click for a better view). Every circle is centered on one of our pubs and the results show homes within a quarter mile of each. Not too bad, especially for a small, southern town, but if it turns out that people are willing, like with transit, to walk ten minutes for suds rather than just five then, well, coverage improves dramatically.

The fun part (at least for geeks like me) is that you can do an exercise like this for any of your community’s shared amenities — coffee shops, schools, parks, etc. I just find pubs especially relevant because, if ever there was a business you should be walking to (and from) rather than driving, it’s your bar.

I can imagine Andy Boddington doing a map for Ludlow now, although they are so close together (when not converted to gastro sausage resteraunts) they all kind of get blurred and merge together.

Sadly I think in England we are now so poor and beer so heavily taxed we may be seeing the last (weekday) pub-going gneration.

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