Public spaces are the lifeblood of our communities, towns and cities. They tell a lot about who we are and what we value. They are where we meet, shop, and play. Attractive, well-designed and well-maintained public spaces and streets send a message that we value our public realm. Vibrant, accessible and interesting streets raise the quality of our lives and encourage people to integrate walking into their lives.
Why Does Walking Matter?
Walking is the thread that connects many issues - from health & well-being to reducing our carbon footprint; from building sustainable communities to creating spaces for our children to walk and play. But often our communities are not designed in a way that encourages us to integrate walking into our lives.
What Does WalkingMatters Do?
WalkingMatters engages with communities to improve the quality of walking in our towns and communities so that people can choose active, or low-carbon, travel more often. We work with stakeholders so they can become advocates for good design, and examine the range of practical changes that can be made to create streets and public spaces that people can enjoy.
If public spaces are poorly maintained and unsafe, they won't be used. We work with teenagers or residents' associations to look at public spaces before they are developed or redesigned to ensure that the end-users are getting something they will use.
If the route from home to school is along heavily trafficked streets, children won't walk. If shops and services are all too far from home, there's no choice but to drive. Our streets are the public spaces in which we live, and need to be designed as places in themselves. We should not allow cars to dominate, but should prioritise children, carers, pedestrians, people with disabilities and cyclists.
The business community can also get involved in Active Travel Programmes. This involves the development of a set of mechanisms, initiatives and objectives that together can enable a company to reduce the impact of travel and transport on the environment, as well as bringing a number of health benefits to its staff/workforce and cost savings to the organisation itself.
How Does WalkingMatters Work?
We work directly with communities and schools to audit their streets and public spaces, and then imagine and design alternatives to support walking and build sustainable communities. Our aim is to engage with, inform and empower all stakeholders to engage meaningfully in this process.