Because small streets are the hallmark of places designed around people who travel by foot, in nearly every country, if you go to the centers of the oldest cities and towns, you will find a core of small streets.
Eight years ago in Québec City, I experienced a car-free place of small streets for the first time. Also having French-Canadian ancestry, the place holds a special place in my heart. J.H. Crawford, author of Carfree Cities, produced this beautiful video of Petit Champlain, the car-free district in Québec City. He writes,
North America has exactly one decent example of a carfree district: Petit Champlain in Quebec City’s Lower Town. This is the oldest urban area on the continent and provides an example of just how pleasant it is to spend time in places without cars. It’s also a model for a more sustainable world. Spend five minutes finding out what it is, how it works, and why it’s a model for the future.
The Piscataquis Village Project, located a four-hour drive from Québec City in Central Maine, is largely based on this model of placemaking. Learn more at piscataquisvillage.org.