15 - 19 October 2018
Walk21 Bogota was the largest conference to date with many highlights including:
5,000 people visiting the event, thanks to Mayor Penalosa’s generosity to ensure registration fees did not restrict interest or education;
the world’s first “Caminovia’, where we were joined by Jamie Ortiz Marino, who is one of the citizens that organised the first Ciclovia in Bogota in 1974, later to become a global movement;
an outdoor walking fashion show that promoted a stylish new collection of clothing and launched a new city-wide campaign to improve respect for pedestrians from drivers.
The event was organised on the city pillars of equity, competitiveness and safety overarched by a commitment to citizen happiness. The following conclusions were presented:
Equity and democracy. Sidewalks are the only legitimate, democratic place where every citizen is truly equal. They are the essential walking infrastructure that help deliver happier and healthier places if they are created as dedicated, barrier free and accessible space that is safe, wide enough, lit and to the Global Design Guide standard. When great sidewalks are built they are a pleasure to use, give every citizen dignity and are a quick and inexpensive way to democratise neighbourhoods. Create sidewalks and look after them.
Safety and kindness. A city for children is a city for everyone but to stop young people growing up scared we need to create places that don’t threaten those we love the most and instead value their right to walk. Authorities have proven it doesn’t cost more to be kind but it does need leadership and follow through, to consider the impact on children’s lives when investment decisions and design choices are made. Plan through the eyes of a child to make a city walkable.
Happiness and nature. Cleaning the rivers, planting trees, dedicating parks and building trails are common priorities in many, if not all, walkable cities. Linking citizens to nature gives ‘fingers of hope’ to the disadvantaged and the opportunity for everyone to enjoy fresh air, places for exercise and to meet each other. Invest in connections to nature as a foundation to community happiness.
Competitiveness and engagement. Walkable cities generate economic competitiveness, reduce mobility costs and improve the living conditions of citizens. However negative descriptions of people on foot as ‘non-motorised’, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘alternative’ undermines the scale of a city’s potential benefit that can only be unlocked through engagement and participation. Allow the pedestrian to be the protagonist of the city transformation.
A concluding poem. ‘Unforgettable’ by Walk21Bogota delegate Jose Pena Patarroyo:
Founders of Walk21 with dignity,
with consultants and collaborators,
women and men speakers share successes and honours.
Walkable Bogota presents gratitude with words.
Organisers and audience walk, walk is health and virtue.
Walk21 with international honour, continue by a road venturous.
Children, the youth and adults with ideals,
walkers with valuable honours,
walking up, walking down and on flat surfaces,
82 years of life my testimony
that confirms and strengthens my heart
almighty on every instant.
Always illuminate the way,
Walk21 go ahead,
the goal and triumph is your faith.