International expert presents case for a walkable, multi-modal Scotland

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Paths for All were delighted to welcome international urban planning expert to Scotland for our Expert Lecture on 25 October.

Brent Toderian, former chief planner for Vancouver in Canada is a champion of design for active communities. He delivered his expert lecture to an audience of 250, including Paths for All’s partners, volunteers, board and invited guests from professional including health, environment and physical activity promotion.

Brent’s presentation gave insight into why multi-modal transport is so important for the future design and development of our towns and cities. He gave an overview of the essential components of making this happen. Brent’s passion and conviction for a better way to design our transport and built environment systems was evident and inspiring. You can hear Brent Toderian speaking on the topic of walkability below.



Ian Findlay, Chief Officer of Paths for All said, ‘We believe that walking is the way that most people can be active to keep healthy in body and mind. Our physical environment can either encourage or be a barrier to active living. In recent times, as a society we’ve designed physical activity out of our lives through design which favours car use and the prevalence of sedentary activities in our work and recreation. This event was about raising awareness of how we can design physical activity back into our lives through the creation and support for well-designed walkable and active communities.’

Conclusions from the day include:


Creating better places for people

If we want to make our towns and cities better for people, we must stop designing places with personal car transit as the dominant mode of travel. Cities which encourage walking are healthier places to be. Citizens are more connected, and local businesses thrive.

Prioritisation

To achieve a genuine change in the way that people travel and increase walking cycling and public transport this must be designed into our environment. To ensure this is achieved design and investment decisions must prioritise these modes of travel. This was shown in Vancouver’s priorisation diagram, where walking is first, cycling second, public transport third, goods/delivery fourth and personal care use fifth.

Designing 'Sticky' Streets

Streets are not places just to go through. They need to be designed to be attractive and ‘sticky’ – places where people want to stay and spend time. If people live close to the amenities they want and use daily, walkability increases. Sticky streets increase physical activity and lead to healthier population, increased social interaction and economic benefits for business.

Making our voices heard

Whoever you are, there is a role to play in making our voices heard when it comes to walkability and multi-modal travel. On a local level you can make a difference, such as by raising issues (such as pavement or road crossing design) with your local council, or respond to local and national consultations thereby playing an active role in how your community develops. Those with professional and leadership responsibilities can champion these causes and build a groundswell of support through persuasive messages and statistics about the benefits of walkability.

Brent Toderian’s presentation slides can be viewed below.

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