This Week at Walk21: Urban Planning Meets Public Health

The Walk21 Conference is coming up in a few days, and there’s no shortage of interesting sessions to attend. One of the great parts of the conference is that it tackles issues shared by all cities, and with participants coming in from around the world, it’ll be a good chance to talk about what works, what doesn’t, and combine that into urban planning strategies that can be exported worldwide.

placejean.jpgImproving pedestrian space: Montreal’s Place Jean-Paul Riopelle features sculpture installations and an 88-tree urban forest. Photo: Wallyg via flickr

For folks interested in looking at ways to improve the pedestrian culture of our often car-crazy continent, there’s Improving North American City Centers for Pedestrians (Wed. Oct. 7, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, Room 802, NYU Kimmel Center), featuring urban planning officials from Mexico City, Montreal, and New York discussing ambitious plans to improve pedestrian spaces and featuring New York City’s recent transformation of Times Square. The panel will be moderated by Sarah Gaventa, the Director of the UK’s CABE Space.

Later in the day, there’s going to be a workshop on "nutritional deserts." No, not "nutritional desserts." This panel takes an urban planning approach to neighborhoods lacking affordable, healthy food options. How Retail Food Availability Shapes Walking Patterns (Wed. Oct. 7, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Room 406, NYU Kimmel Center) is all about how cities can help out there neighborhoods by encouraging greenmarkets, community food gardens, and supermarkets. The workshop will be moderated by Kelly Williams of New York’s Project for Public Spaces and will discuss how advocates and cities can shift zoning and land use policies to support access to healthy food in urban environments.

The Walk21 Conference takes place at NYU’s Kimmel Center from October 7-9. You can register for the conference here.