WS 1.2: Planning and designing walkable environments for active living

Workshop provider(s)

M.W. Seymour*1, P.R. Summerlin1
1Mississippi State University, USA, 2Mississippi State University, USA

Workshop description

This workshop will address the built environment to explore ways that we can make our communities more conducive to walking and prioritize people over cars. Walking issues will be explored at both the macro and micro scale. Participants will be separated into groups to create a list of characteristics that make up a walkable community and then have the opportunity to design a simple, walkable community on a provided base sheet with instructions. These designs will be briefly reviewed and compared to some well-known walkable communities. Following the discussion, participants will take a break and then review and discuss a local road and intersection in Banff using Google Earth. We will then discuss micro-scale techniques for design retrofits to improve walkability and possible solutions for the Banff site. Participants will then work in small groups to redesign the intersection using a base sheet provided. The goal of the design will be to prioritize pedestrians but also to devise a creative environment that is pleasant and safe for all users. This workshop will work similarly to a design studio or planning workshop. It is intended to promote a creative and a thoughtful approach to the built environment and get participants talking and actively learning. Participants will leave with an improved understanding of the design techniques and approaches that can make communities more walkable at the scale of both an entire community and a single road or intersection.

Learning Objectives

1. Participants will be able to identify specific macro and micro-scale design techniques that can make communities more walkable for all.
2. Participants will be able to use the identified set of design characteristics to create a draft design of a walkable community on a provided base sheet. The characteristics will be primarily proposed by the participants although emphasis will be placed on issues such as density, interconnected streets and mixed-use development.
3. Participants will be able to use a toolkit of design techniques to create a design for a retrofit of an existing intersection to prioritize walking. Again, techniques will be drawn from the participants but emphasis will be placed on typical road diet approaches as well as creative options for prioritizing people over cars.

Interactive Features

This workshop will be very interactive and include discussion, group work and design.

3-hour program 

Introduction to Walking and Walkability Design and Participants (15 Minutes)
Group Exercise on Walkable Community Characteristics (15 Minutes)
Walkable Community Design Exercise (50 Minutes)
Pin-up and Review (15 Minutes)
Break (10 Minutes)
Discussion of Micro-scale Walkability Interventions (15 Minutes)
Review of Banff Site (10 Minutes)
Road/Intersection Design Exercise (35 Minutes)
Wrap up/Discussion of Designing for Walkability and Advocacy (15 minutes)

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Supporting Publications
Organized by
  • ALR
  • ALR
  • Elsevier
Silver Sponsor
Voices for Healthy Kids
  • CSEP
  • eco counter
  • PAL Technologies
Official Airline
Air Canada