Friday, Aug 24, 2012
National expert to lead free walkability workshop with focus on ties to economic and community health
The City of Hot Springs will host a free Active Living Workshop with leading walkability and community planning experts Dan Burden and Sarah Bowman from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 26 at the Central Fire Station, 310 Broadway Street. Interested residents are encouraged to mark their calendars and register now by calling 321-4804.
Burden is the nation’s most recognized authority on walkability and the co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, which is committed to building better built environments. Time Magazine named Burden as one of the six most important civic innovators in the world. Bowman, director of education for the Institute, facilitated community-focused walkability assessments and training in eight Arkansas communities in 2011 and assisted the Arkansas Coalition of Obesity Prevention and the Arkansas Department of Health with healthy community initiatives.
“Hot Springs, Arkansas has an opportunity to emerge from the current recession with vibrancy, but you have to get the streets right first, and lay a foundation for quality commerce and healthy communities,” Burden said. “We’ll take some steps in that direction during these workshops.”
Burden and Bowman’s workshop will aim to teach, connect and support Hot Springs residents to improve the walkability and social connectivity of their neighborhoods. Workshop content will focus on how walkability is tied to community health and economic vitality. On the second day, a core team of participants will assess conditions around the community for pedestrian safety and accessibility. Both days will provide participants with tools that can be used to improve the walkability of their own neighborhoods, including a newly-released walking audit survey tool and walkability toolbox.
A 2009 study by Joe Cortright of CEO’s for Cities makes it clear that walkability is strongly associated with higher housing values in nearly all metropolitan areas. Additionally, the health of retail is also impacted by the quality of the pedestrian environment.
“The workshop will provide Hot Springs residents, merchants, emergency responders and community builders with recommendations to improve walkability, active transport and neighborhood design. Participants will leave the workshop with tools to improve the health and economic vitality of Hot Springs,” said Bowman.
Both workshops will provide ample opportunity for participants to connect and collaborate with local community leaders from the local government, business and education sectors. For information or to register, call 321-4804.