5 years from now

To mark the 5th anniversary of Talking Walking in 2013, producer Andrew Stuck from Rethinking Cities Ltd. & the Museum of Walking invited 12 thought leaders from the worlds of walking around the globe to give their 5 year forecast for walking.

Talking Walking is Britain’s leading walking podcast website, with more than 45 recorded interviews since 2008. It was Andrew Stuck’s idea to request 5 year walking forecasts to be made by telephone.  Each thought leader was invited to make their forecast by telephoning a number to leave a voice message, that Andrew had set up to be recorded.  Each of these responses have subsequently been edited and will be published as podcasts. Each week until Christmas 2013, a 5 year walking forecast will be published on the Talking Walking website.

Our latest 5 year walking forecast is from Professor Dee Heddon, from the University of Glasgow, lectures on Contemporary Performance and researches performance in walking and forests. Last year, with Misha Myers, a fellow academic and performance artist in Cornwall, she conceived the Walking Library, which draws on their shared interest in the relationship between reading, walking and writing.

Reflecting on the growth in numbers and popularity of walking festivals, Dee Heddon is optimistic in her 5 year walking forecast believing that as walking costs so little to undertake, with today’s austerity and increasing worries about personal health and climate change, that its popularity will continue to grow.

To listen to her forecast simply click here
Jacky Kennedy is Founding Director of Canada Walks at Green Communities Canada, a walking advocate from Toronto who has been working to encourage walking for more than 15 years.  Her current work is around setting up a national school travel plan framework for Active and Safe Routes to School in Canada. Canada Walks has also developed a Walk-Friendly Communities Designation; the first “Walk-Friendly Communities” in Ontario are to be announced in November 2013.

Jacky predicts a need for each of us to adopt simpler lifestyles to reduce our combined ecological footprint.  She has observed a marked shift in attitudes and behaviours with many more people adopting active human-powered mobility for many of their shorter daily trips and municipalities across Canada developing pedestrian plans.  This will mean an increasing proportion of local government spend will be for improving pedestrian infrastructure.

To listen to her forecast simply click here.

Apposite with the publication of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which re-states that the harmful effects of climate change have been exacerbated by the actions of humans, not least to those actions associated with motorised transport, our first 5 year walking forecast is from Dr Mayer Hillman, Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute in London and author of Penguin best seller, “How to save the planet”.

Hillman has tirelessly revealed the inconsistencies in government policy at the local, national and international level. Trained as an architect and town planner, much of his research has been on mobility, social justice and the quality of life in cities.  As he explains in his 5 year walking forecast, his focus now is firmly about climate change adaptation, how we must change our ways, and steps we can take to make those changes.

He believes “that the implications of climate change for public policy are absolutely critical to our futures and that those for walking are as profound as they are for most areas of policy – by no means just the domain of energy.”

Hillman supports the Global Commons Institute’s Contraction and Convergence framework recommending tradeable per capita carbon allowances such that each of us would have an annually diminishing carbon ration.

In the wake of this rationing would come the wider integration of walking (and cycling) into the routine of daily life and a continuing reduction in traffic as the annual ration will have to be so small as to make it increasingly illogical to own and use a car. As a consequence of growing public pressure from people increasingly dependent on the non-motorised forms of travel, safer, more extensive and higher quality provision for them by central and local government will inevitably follow in recognition of the associated justifications for doing so.

To listen to Mayer Hillman’s 5 year walking forecast click here
Listen to all the 5 year walking forecasts: – http://www.talkingwalking.net/5-year-walking-forecast/

The is article previously appeared on the Rethinking Cities website.