WALK21 report

I finally finished polishing my WALK21 conference notes. My report describes the many benefits of walking and walkable communities — from health promotion to economic development to environmental protection. It is a summary of research, principles and best practices for policy development, public engagement processes, public space design and measuring results.

Click on this link to view the pdf of my report.
Slower internet connection? View this low resolution version instead.

Raw notes from each workshop and presentation are still posted under the “notes from walk21” category of this website. Under “notes“, I’ve posted interesting quotes I found while cross-referencing.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to talk with you about what I learned at this outstanding, very informative and inspiring conference.

2 Responses to “WALK21 report”

  1. dl Says:

    Visit dl

    one of my marketing classes focused on canada. the extra reading ( ya I’m one of “those” students) was a book called, boom bust echo. it describes the market demographics in canada, and is used to reach those markets. the prof was a cool old guy, who taught from work experience, and life wisdom. one of the wisdoms I took from him, was to look to europe today, if you want to know what canada needs in 10 years. europe’s demographics are 10 years older than ours. if our medium age is 60, then their’s is 70. the good, bad and ugly, which they are experiencing now, we can avoid or emulate if we observe now and plan for later.
    (minus ireland the celtic tiger, from the european view, as this country is an anomaly due to forward thinking, planning, increased personal wealth, free upper education, and increased populations – yup we irish know how to live;-)
    trends in Europe: small densely populated neighbourhoods, walkable, bikeable, small “mom & pop” shops as opposed to big box/malls, community social ecosystems, recycling is ingrained in the social psyche, outdoor public markets, etc etc. due to the astronomical euro per litre cost of gas, short trips are decreasing, feeding into livable, healthy communities, where vibrancy can be seen and measured in street animations.
    the report is well laid out, and for those of us who already experience the happiness of walking,biking, and “smelling the roses on the way to the beach” it’s a no brainer. for others who choose a car-centric lifestyle, the psychological hurdle to change or acknowledge benefits to themself/others, may be like asking a restaurant to go smoke free on a patio. we north americans have been raised by a TV. what a TV does to the human brain is interesting in terms of communication delivery (advertising). you must drive a car to be cool. you don’t need to park your own car anymore, lexus does it for you. fast, sleek, shiny, and of coarse, the babe in the car beckoning you. The vibe connects a bunch of people having fun, music, laughter. have you ever stood on a corner and just watched people driving by? usually, it’s one person in a car, talking on the phone, eating, smoking, picking their nose, or getting mad at the driver ahead. if it’s two, there’s still one person on a phone. three people – as rare as a dodo bird! have you ever just stood on a corner and watched pedestrians? shopping Bags in hand, rosy cheeks, making eye contact, socializing with total strangers, taking in the details of a city, helping others cross the road. if parking issues along marine drive are currently the loudest voice being heard, with bags of govt money being thrown at it, where’s the ear listening to the voices for sidewalks, parks, connecting pathways, and things to do? Why is psychologically acceptable that sidewalks are not cleared of snow, but streets and parking lots are? How does the report get used to change the social ecosystem or urban design for the future of white rock? from the look of the report, you’ve put much effort into it, I hope it is read by council, and taken into consideration when decisions are made regarding the future of white rock.

  2. Matt Todd Says:

    Visit Matt Todd

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Indeed, not including my time at the conference, my report took well over two full-time weeks to research, write, cross-reference facts, etc.

    One of the presenters at the Walk21 conference noted that London had a population of 2 million long before the automobile. He had two points: first, that it is possible to accommodate large populations where the dominant mode of transportation is walking; and second, that the reason it seems easier to encourage walking in Europe is because so many cities were built before the automobile — they were designed to be inherently walkable. So, as you point out, we could look to Europe and other pre-automobile cities for inspiration of how to make our modern cities more inviting to pedestrians.

    I’m hoping my report will lend momentum to ideas that would make White Rock a city more inviting to pedestrians. I think that’s the key to eroding the ‘transportation=personal automobile’ cultural default you’re talking about.

    The current OCP review is the perfect forum for talking about ensuring that density is clustered around grocery stores, restaurants and drug stores, since those are the most common destinations for pedestrians.

    There is much we can do to make the walking experience an easier choice to make. I believe more people in White Rock would choose to walk more often if more of our sidewalks and walking routes were (as best said by Tim Pharaoh) connected, convenient, comfortable, conspicuous and convivial.

    For the rest of council to be motivated to move toward those improvements, they need to hear more citizens asking for them.

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