Rodney Tolley, conference director of not-for-profit Walk21, an international organisation that promotes the development of a culture of walking, was in Cockburn last week with the message that the journey should be enjoyed.
‘It’s not just about getting from A to B,’ he said.
‘It’s about what people are doing between those two points. Are they in a caf�, are they shopping, are they standing or are they walking?
‘We need to create more than pathways.’
Dr Tolley said there were many benefits in creating more ‘walkable’ urban landscapes, including better health, particularly for the elderly.
‘As baby boomers, we’ll give up running, we’ll give up tennis, but we’ll continue to want to walk,’ he said.
‘Walking is a part of what makes us who we are.
‘There’s a silver tsunami of boomers coming at you, so they’ll be looking for places where walking is easy and things they need are close by.’
Having facilities such as shops close by also leads to economic benefits, according to Dr Tolley.
‘If people are walking to their local store, they’ll spend less each time they visit because they carry less, but they’ll visit more often,’ he said.
‘There’s a strong argument space for people is much more important than space for cars. The evidence supports turning car parks into people space.’
As part of the push, Dr Tolley unveiled the Heart Foundation’s latest online tool encouraging town planners to create more walkable cities.
Visit healthyactivebydesign.com.au for more information.