From New York’s cafe squares to Melbourne’s laneways to the walled Fes el Bali, these pedestrian paradises combine safety, beauty and comfort. Now urban planners are taking note as they seek to hand back cities to the walkers

For decades the simple act of walking was largely overlooked by city planners but, no matter how you choose to get around your city, the chances are that you are a pedestrian at some point during the day.

Recently, some cities have made great strides: from the ambitious public squares programmes of New York and Paris to the pedestrianisation of major streets (realised in the case of Strøget in Copenhagen; proposed in the case of London’s Oxford Street and Madrid’s Gran Vía.

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