One of the things I love about Guanajuato is that I don’t need–or want–a car. I can easily take a bus or walk. I buy just what I need so I can carry it home. Often, this means that I pick up staples at the family run tiendas you can find in every neighborhood. The big grocery chains haven’t eliminated the little guys because lots of people are like me, carless, that patronize them. This also means that there aren’t unintended purchases because there’s simply not enough room in my backpack to carry them home. So my consumption is lower than it was back in the States.
Even though Eugene, Oregon, is a “walker’s paradise“, (link found at Wild Humans), I drove when I lived there. I find that next to environmental concerns, the most powerful variable influencing my decision to walk instead of drive is that I live a culture that supports walking. Everyone does it. I think that to create a valid measure of “walkability”, it’s important to include cultural support in the list as well.