Kinect’s Executive Director Ian Kett said Walktober was a way to link a number of walking events and generate discussion about bigger issues including urban planning, liveable communities and neighbourhood safety – all of which are impacted by walking. “The benefits of walking are well documented. Everyone accepts that walking is good for us. It’s an easy, low cost way to exercise. It’s free, it’s fun and you don’t need any special equipment. But there is even greater value in walking – beyond physical activity and health benefits. Walking can change your world; your neighbourhood, local community, suburb or city.
Kett added “If we make our suburbs more ‘walkable’, it will help reduce greenhouse emissions and traffic congestion as well as save money by cutting petrol, parking and car running costs. And the social benefits from walking are enormous. Communities are better connected, neighbourhood safety increases and crime is reduced. In essence, communities that are ‘walkable’ are more liveable and the benefits flow to every aspect of our lives.”
A number of high profile events will be held in Walktober – all of which incorporate walking and promote liveable communities. They include: Community Safety Month; Victorian Seniors Festival; National Walk to Work Day; World’s Greatest Pram Stroll; Foot Health Week; Planning Week; Walktober Walk To School; Melbourne Walk21 Conference; Creating Lively Neighbourhoods; Children and Active Transport Symposium; and Prostate Cancer Awareness Walk. Phew! You’ll need to be fit to keep up with that program!
Melbourne Walk 21 conference
A key Walktober event is the Melbourne Walk 21 conference to be held between 23-25 October at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. This International Conference is attracting World experts who will gather in Melbourne in October for the 7th international conference on walking and liveable communities. It is only the second time the conference has been held in the southern hemisphere.
More than 500 visionary and influential delegates from around the world will gather to discuss and debate ways to improve walking opportunities and help communities enjoy the health, social, environmental and economic benefits walking brings. Keynote speakers have been drawn from the World Bank and the World Health Organisation, as well as international experts in road safety, transport, economic evaluation, urban planning and design.
Speakers from 14 countries including the USA, UK, Switzerland, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand will present over 80 papers on community development, urban and transport planning, safety and design.
The program will feature over 30 breakout sessions, four keynote and plenary sessions, as well as panel discussions and ‘walkshops’.
On the opening morning of the conference, specially commissioned research will be presented, identifying international trends on walking, and highlighting how Victoria shapes up on the world stage. Other topics at the conference include: Urban design and walking; Children and play; Walking for seniors; Measuring and valuing walking; Active travel to school; Crime and its impacts on walking; Public transport and walking; and Melbourne urban design issues. Pre and Post Conference Programs will be held in Sydney, New Zealand and other places.