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2007 09 25
Walk21 Toronto 2007 Conference Brings Planners and Pedestrians Together

Next week hundreds of of internationally-based pedestrian advocates, urban thinkers and city planners will convene in Toronto for the eighth annual Walk21 Conference, running October 1-4 at downtown locations centred on City Hall, the Design Exchange and the Royal Ontario Museum. Plenary speakers, among them David Suzuki, will bracket dozens of breakout sessions and 'walkshops' -- mobile workshops bringing conference themes to the streets.

The conference begins Monday with pre-conference workshops organized around pressing pedestrianization challenges. A standout event is 'Getting out of the Box: An Introduction to Cultural Revolution and The Anatomy of Pedestrian Zones', organized by Streets are for People. On Tuesday night the Toronto Public Space Committee will run a pedestrian-oriented film night at the Bloor Cinema.

From the titles, the breakout sessions sound fascinating. Some titles: 'Whose Street is it Anyway? (Fanis Grammenos), 'Influencing Travel Behaviour in a Winter City' (Beth McKechnie), 'Streets with people, or roads with cars?' (Tim Pharoah), 'A Short History og Walking in Toronto' (Janice Etter, Rhonda Swarbrick and Gregory Stewart)'. The 'walkshops' are no less fascinating, and include 'Love in the City?' (run by Andrew Stuck), Jacob Allerdice's 'Life at the Speed of a Bicycle', and a 'Toronto Tree Tours Annex Green Ramble' (run by Todd Irvine and Liz Forsberg), among numerous others.

Toronto has done well to host this high-profile event, which not only will showcase local and international pedestrianization initiatives, it will also put pressure on the City to continue improving the quality of Toronto's own pedestrian spaces. The conference coincides with other local pedestrian events, including Walking Life, an exhibit showcasing work created both by artists and community members that celebrates the experience of walking running at the Gladstone Hotel until October 4, and Ontario's World Record Walk, scheduled for October 3. If you haven't registered for the conference already, you can do so online here.

[Amy Lavender Harris will be speaking at Walk21 on Thursday October 4 ('Walking the Imagined City'). She'll also lead a literary walking tour of Kensington Market).]
[email this story] Posted by Amy Lavender Harris on 09/25 at 11:04 AM

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