Living Streets Scotland's Big Walking Seminar 2022; Radical Changes for Everyday Streets: Making it Happen was held online on 31 March. The aim was to explore the gap between the rhetoric around walking and active travel, and the lived reality of walking and wheeling in Scotland.
Over 80 delegates took part, including Living Streets members, stakeholders from civil society, the public sector, third sector and the private sector who are interested in active travel, health, disability rights and inclusive planning and transport.
The morning kicked of with a welcome and scene setting from Chair Stuart Hay, Living Streets Scotland Director. You can catch the highlights below.
The session began with a photo journey of everyday walking environments, followed by a video presentation of three personal stories from members of the public exploring their lived experience of everyday journeys.
Following these presentations, our panel of experts gave their reactions and reflections on the themes and issues raised and the emotions these generated.
Our panel: Anne Docherty, Living Streets Scotland; Jenny Elliott, award-winning Chartered Landscape Architect and freelance designer based in Edinburgh; Kevin Lafferty, Chief Executive, Paths for All; and Professor Colin Pooley, Emeritus Professor of Social and Historical Geography, Lancaster University.
This session heard from keynote speakers who asked what big shifts are needed to deliver change and make walking a pleasant and viable everyday activity for everyone.
Robert Weetman and Anne Docherty from Living Streets Scotland talked about “Opportunities for Change: Lessons from Street Audits”, covering problems that pedestrians face on Scotland’s streets, potential solutions and quick wins for creating pleasant walking environments.
Susan Claris from Arup (and Living Streets' Vice President) presented the topic “Towards a Walking World: the fundamental changes”, which encompassed messages from COP26, examples of short and longer term positive changes to increase levels of walking, drawing on Scottish, UK and international case studies and addressed the issue of “transport gluttony”.
The final speaker was Sheila Duffy from ASH Scotland who shared her experience of influencing smoke-free legislation in Scotland, discussed the parallels between the tobacco industry and the car industry and principles of behaviour change.
Susan Claris is a transport planner and an anthropologist who has worked for Arup for nearly 30 years. She is Arup’s global champion for active travel and she led the report “Cities Alive: Towards a walking world” and co-authored the “Walking For Everyone | Living Streets” report with Living Streets and Sustrans.
Susan is the Vice President of Living Streets. In 2019, Susan was awarded the title of Transport Planner of the Year by the Transport Planning Society, based on her work raising the profile of transport planning and being a champion for diversity in the transport planning profession.
Anne Docherty is a Project Co-ordinator with Living Streets Scotland, working in the Communities Programme on the “20-minute neighbourhood – Communities’ Perspective” and the Out & About Project, working with older and disabled people to identify what helps or hinders them to get out and about daily.
Anne has a background in public health and community engagement and has worked in various locations across Scotland and beyond. Since joining Living Streets four years ago, Anne has worked to tackle infrastructure barriers to everyday walking, such as lack of resting places and has co-produced our “Guide to Getting Better Streets and Pavements.”
Sheila Duffy became Chief Executive of ASH Scotland in January 2008. ASH Scotland is working towards a healthier Scotland, free from the harms and inequalities linked to tobacco use. She has played a key role in securing Scotland’s tobacco legislation over the past two decades, including ending tobacco point of sale displays, and bringing in smoke-free vehicles with under 18s present.
As Director of Information & Communications at ASH Scotland, Sheila was responsible for influencing the development of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act of 2005 which ended smoking in most enclosed public places.
Jenny Elliott is an award-winning Chartered Landscape Architect and freelance designer based in Edinburgh.
She is a strong advocate for design-led, collaborative and data-driven place-based approaches to reimagine and improve cities and local places. Jenny combines expertise in urban design, placemaking and research with visual communication skills in graphic design, illustration and photography to document and share projects led by her or others.
Jenny recently led design and delivery of the project ‘Future of the High Street’ for Edinburgh Futures Institute (Landscape Institute Award Finalist 2021). Her PhD explores how to overcome barriers to realising better public spaces in practice.
Kevin Lafferty is the Chief Executive Officer of Paths for All, joining in September 2021.
Over his 25 year career, Kevin has led various teams including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s physical activity team. He developed and implemented Glasgow’s physical activity strategy ‘Let’s Make Glasgow More Active’ and led Forestry Commission Scotland’s ‘Woods for Health’ strategy and action plan.
Kevin has extensive experience across a range of legislative and community health and wellbeing agendas. His vision is for Scotland to be a walking nation where everyone has the opportunity to be active every day.
Colin G Pooley is Emeritus Professor of Social and Historical Geography in the Environment Centre and the Centre for Mobilities Studies (CeMoRe), Lancaster University, UK. His research focuses on the social geography of Britain and continental Europe since circa 1800, with recent projects focused on residential migration, travel to work, everyday mobilities and sustainable transport.
Current and recent research includes the use of personal diaries and other life writing to study past mobilities, and the analysis of court records to study urban walking.
Robert Weetman is the Living Streets Technical Coordinator for Scotland. He has spent many years trying to understand what makes streets work in the way they do – what establishes them as nice places to live, encourages calm or aggressive vehicle use, and what allows motorised vehicles to dominate or prevents this.
Robert brings learning about social change and complexity from his previous career as a consultant seeking profound change within the care industry.