Walk21 Rotterdam: A Conference at the Heart of Innovative Citymaking Created on 11/30/2019 7:42:42 AM
An enthusiastic crowd inspired by the power of walking to create cities that are SMART, HEALTHY & FOR EVERYONE.
About 600 walking enthusiasts convened in Rotterdam, The Netherlands to WALK THE TALK during our 20th Walk21 Conference in October, 2019
The overflowing conference program was filled with cutting edge insights into urban projects, strategies and research for how to improve walking and the quality of public space. And many enjoyed the variety of outdoor walk shops to find the hidden gems scattered throughout the city.
Delegates came from six continents and 50 countries. An enthusiastic crowd inspired by the power of walking to create cities that are SMART, HEALTHY & FOR EVERYONE.
The Walk21 Conference moves from Rotterdam to Seoul this year. In recent years Seoul has inspired many of us with images of bold urban renewal projects that re-prioritize walking and consistent investment in better infrastructure to improve road safety.
With the famous highlights being the massive urban highway removal uncovering Cheonggyecheon creek as public space, and the recently completed Seoullo 7017 aka Seoul Skypark that is re-purposing an underused overpass as a walkable corridor to Seoul central station.
Five Takeaways from Walk21 Rotterdam
Walk21 founder Jim Walker drew together five conclusions for the closing of Walk21 Rotterdam:
An Invitation to Dwell and A Permission to Change
For ten years Rotterdam has created improvements to infrastructure that highlighted the priority being given to walkers. The policy – Rotterdam's "City Lounge" – has focused on an invitation to people to use their public space and encouraging them to stay and enjoy it as long as possible. At the heart of this approach was the permission to change through the redesign and re-imagination of streets and spaces.
A Dutch National Strategy for Walking
Walk21 Rotterdam saw the launch of a Dutch national framework commitment for walking. After well-deserved international recognition and praise for their comprehensive approach to cycling policy and practice, it is encouraging to see a new team dedicating themselves to a similar level of ambition for walking.
Effective Data for Smart Walking Practitioners
In the context of a conference agenda which was set to discuss health, safety and inclusion it was recognized that it was important to focus on the relevant variables that give the best insight into walkability and the reasons why people choose to walk.
Changing Minds and Modal Shares
Walking can be so habitual (or not) that we need help to reset our cognitive processes and pro-actively decide to recognize its value so that we can enable enabling greater investment in walking issues.
Improve Walkability Around Public Transport Interchanges
We can start to build a walkable city at scale by improving the 500m around public transport interchanges first. Stakeholders in the complex public realm around public transport hubs can work collectively if walkability is to be enhanced. The Rotterdam programme of ‘sneaky fitness’ that aims to ‘seduce people to move’ is equally applicable to a reorganization in a forward direction of those with a stake in public transport accessibility.
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