Walk21-VI: Zurich, Switzerland


22 - 23 September 2005.


Zurich is well-known as a city with a walking culture. The beautiful historical Old Town with its large pedestrian zone, the lovely lakeside promenade and the excellent public transport system are examples of best practice that have been developed to support the culture of the city, whose inhabitants are less likely to own a car and more likely to walk everyday than people in other cities.


Walking is more than just a healthy and environmentally friendly way to move around: Walking is an all encompassing sensory experience and the Zurich conference will inspire debates and provide an engaging
experience, exploring the unique combination of slow culture qualities.


focused on the planned implementation of walking into daily life by technical, political and structural means. 
The Conference aims were:
To increase recognition, in the opinion of public representatives, experts and policy-makers, of the positive contribution that walking makes to everyday city activities. 
To help walking issues be appreciated as positive and trend-setting components of life.



    How can we establish a walking culture and create a positive image of walking? 
    What effective traffic interventions can be made to increase walking, and how do we turn visions of a new walking culture into practice?

    What are the effects of walking on our physical and mental well-being? Which measures have to be taken to make everyday walking as habitual as brushing your teeth? 
    How can we organise the city so that more journeys are made on foot?

    What are the planning and political requirements needed to increase walking activities on the outskirts of towns and cities? 
    How can we improve suburban walking areas to make them more safe, secure and comfortable for walkers?

    How are pedestrians linked with the public transport system, and what is necessary to provide a smooth and secure change between the different
    means of transportation? 
    What political and institutional changes are needed to further integrate walking with public transport?


A. Quality of Life/Quality of Environment

1. Walking should be considered in the context of quality lives and spaces.

2. The amount of walking occurring in communities can be used as a key measure for the quality of life and the quality of the local environment.

3. Quality of life measures should include cultural development and the arts as part of a broader approach.

4. The development of spaces and programmes with an emphasis on fun and enjoyment is especially important for children but also the general population and should be integral to a broader approach to support and encourage walking.

B. Facilitation

1. The walking movement needs to better utilize the experience and expertise of social and health marketers to bring about social change.

2. Long term cultural change in relation to walking is best pursued via short term projects and gains as well as longer term solutions, to ensure that we continue to generate momentum and positive development.

3. Fostering cultural change can be overwhelming and it is helpful to consider change within each person’s sphere of influence as a way of managing development. ‘I do what I can where I am’ is a valuable maxim for individuals to follow.

4. Walking time is quality time and this should be emphasized as a significant benefit.

C. Targets

1. Development in the future must also focus on suburban areas as well as city centres.

2. Distances need to be kept short for walkability. The promotion of Zurich as The city of short distances is a strategy worth emulating elsewhere.

D. Relationships

1. Whilst walking should clearly maintain a distinct image and position, a carefully managed alliance with cycling could be pursued to mutual advantage.

2. Development companies and the corporate sector in general need to be more comprehensively engaged in the walking movement. Walking is a whole community issue and not just the domain of governments or practitioners

3. We need to engage organizations and practitioners from outside the walking field in the future to build momentum. It is vital that we do not just talk to the converted. International development agencies, including the World Bank, must be encouraged to include the promotion of walking and walkability within development plans and contracts. 



Seoul 2020



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© Access Associates Limited (AAL) owns the Walk21 name and has it protected under copyright law 

Walk21 Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1174564)


Walk21 is the international charity dedicated to ensuring the right to walk and opportunity to enjoy it is supported and encouraged for everyone throughout the world.