Harleysville, PA- Katie Greiner

  1. I come from a town called Harleysville, Pennsylvania. It is located in Montgomery County, which is a suburb of Philadelphia. Harleysville is an Automobile Suburb because most members of the community rely on cars or public buses for transportation to work, school, local businesses, stores, and restaurants. Automobiles are pretty much a necessity since many businesses and stores are located at a pretty far distance from each other as well as community homes and apartments. Roughly 8,800 people live in my hometown. I personally enjoy living in the area because it is a small suburb and in the town there are stores and businesses a short drive away from my house. I do not think that the town of Harleysville is not designed to make walking easy or desirable though. The sidewalks in the area stop suddenly and the distance from one location to the other can be two or more miles. Even though the town itself relies on automobiles, the town contains family owned farms that grow crops and raise livestock as well.
  2. Copenhagen is a city that my town can look towards for becoming less motorized, by using non-motorized transportation. In Copenhagen, cycling and walking are embedded into the cities culture by designing streets, sidewalks, and roadways to be cycle friendly. The urban design that was placed by government officials and the push to create cycling as a social norm should be a transition that my hometown should make to create a more healthy and sustainable community. My hometown can create this transition because most large neighborhoods are within a five-mile radius of the Main Street, where businesses, shops, and restaurants are located. Through creating a more cycling-friendly environment by adding more complete sidewalks, bike trails, cycle lanes on roadways, and locations to safely park bicycles, my community can help make a transition to a cycling community like that of Copenhagen. This concept would benefit the environment by reducing emissions into the environment while also promoting more healthy lifestyles in the community.
  3. Bogota is another city that is pushing citizens to change the social norm of using automobiles to use other forms of transportation such as walking and cycling. The city hosts weekly Ciclovias, which restricts the use of automobiles on the streets. This weekly requirement forces the citizens to figure out alternative means of transportation at least once a week. This helps to transition the citizens of Bogota into thinking of using alternative means of transportation to get around the city even when it is not a Ciclovia day. Currently, the community members of my hometown are use to driving everywhere, even down the street. If the community used a similar concept, along with making more cycle friendly pathways, members of my community may use alternative means of transportation on a more regular basis. This requirement can help alter thinking by creating new habits and altering social norms.

2 thoughts on “Harleysville, PA- Katie Greiner

  1. Hey Katie, I read your post and thought it was interesting how some suburbs differ from others. You talked about how you grew up in an area that depended heavily on cars and buses for transportation which differs from where I’m from. I do like how you compared your hometown to cities outside of the U.S. It gives a different perspective when comparing the cities to those in America. Using weekly Ciclovias to restrict automobile use seems like a great idea but it may be difficult to get people to adjust. Thanks for sharing your post, check out mine below.


  2. Hi Katie, name is Gershom and attached is my post, http://geog030.dutton.psu.edu/2016/03/18/module-7-it-just-is/. What made your post catching was the phrase a suburb of Philly or as often said around Penn State “just outside Philly”. 😉 Though I didn’t grow up in a small suburb, most of the suburbs I’ve grown up have usually had several farms located within 5 miles. The challenge with making car reliant suburbs more pedestrian friendly is the infrastructure cost not to mention that usually successful instances of such social norms in Europe have more of a community centric vibe to them. For instance most americans don’t know there neighbors beyond the occasional greeting whereas in Europe due to close proximity and social norm, one’s neighbor can at least be an acquaintance. Bogota, Colombia is a more likely scenario for communities as no funds have to be spent other than safety supervisors. In America what makes this challenging is that Sunday doesn’t have the same importance as a day of rest than in a catholic region as in Colombia even if it is no longer the dominant belief.

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