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Save petrol money: walk

Save petrol money: walk

Living Streets Aotearoa
Media release for immediate use
25 July 2008

Creating communities less reliant on oil will be high on the agenda at the New Zealand Walking conference, organised by Living Streets Aotearoa.

Making our communities more walkable by designing streets for people is a top priority as petrol rockets past $2 a litre, says walking expert Dan Burden.

Described by Time magazine as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world”, he will be the key note speaker at the conference in Auckland on 4-5 August. The theme of the conference is to “Double the feet on the street”.

Mr Burden, a former National Geographic photographer, will use his photographs to help communities realise how car-centric they have become, and to show them how to get back on their feet.

Mr Burden walks for a living. He is an expert on walkability, healthy streets and smart growth. He founded the organisation Walkable Communities in the United States, and has worked with more than 200 communities and cities to help them change their focus onto people instead of cars.

“If you build your community for cars you will get lots of cars; if you build your community for people you will get lots of people”, said Mr Burden. “Indeed, those cities in the United States building for people are becoming the most sustainable, and have not seen a softening of the housing market. In Seattle, Washington, for example, they have focused on walkability and people for the past 20 years, and they have a robust and growing economy.”

Mr Burden will also be running seminars in Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

The Minister of Transport, Annette King, will walk to the conference from the Panmure Bridge on the Monday morning to give the opening speech. Leaders and advocates from government, academia, planning, engineering, community groups, health, environment, design, and business will be attending.

MC for the Walking Conference will be Louise Schofield who presented TV3’s Honey we’re killing the kids programme. Dame Susan Devoy will demonstrate her new web site Wonderwalkers, which promotes walking for women.

ENDS

Information about the conference, including the programme, is on the Living Streets website www.livingstreets.org.nz

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