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walking cities blueprint for change coverLiving Streets, the "UK Charity for Everyday Walking",  has published a Blueprint for Change, designed as a guide for city leaders to help them create Walking Cities: 

"safe and inviting to people of all ages, where every child can walk safely to school, and communities have quality spaces to thrive. Walking cities mean better cities for everyone."

Living Streets' Chief Executive, Joe Irvin, sets out the charity's rationale:

Our streets deserve to be so much more than corridors for traffic. They are the public spaces in which we play out our everyday lives. How we experience them has an impact on each of us as soon as we step out of our front door.

The negative impact of car-centric lifestyles creates a social burden. The reduction in physical activity and the rise of obesity are two reasons why today’s children are the first generation not expected to live as long as their parents.

We are also increasingly aware of the devastating cost of air pollution, caused by motor vehicles, to our health and over five thousand pedestrians are killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads each year.

Our cities suffer economic consequences too. Growing traffic congestion is a huge cost to our cities. Modern cities need to remain competitive in a global marketplace where employers increasingly demand to locate in healthier, less polluted cities offering worldclass public transport and public spaces.

The time has come for a more effective approach. Cities around the world are beginning to realise that by encouraging more people to walk, and reducing the number of car journeys, they can create a healthier, more equal society and attract business and investment. The tide seems to be turning in favour of Walking Cities.

The increasing desire to create more liveable, healthier streets across the UK has led to a demand for practical and effective actions to make that happen. Government has taken initiatives. The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England, the National Walking Strategy in Scotland, and the Active Travel Act in Wales. Our Blueprint for Change is our contribution to the debate. We are determined to work with city leaders, businesses and communities to improve our streets and cities for everyone.

Living Streets argue that Walking Cities are not just healthier, greener and create stronger communities, but they are also more economically successful:

Enabling more people to walk, cycle or use public transport can help ease costly traffic congestion whilst creating attractive places to invest, shop and do business. Improving public spaces has also been shown to be a strong catalyst for local economic vitality, regeneration and tourism.

The booklet sets out a 7-step plan based on best practice from around the world.

7 steps towards a walking city

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