Welcome to the 1st Pedestrian Space Newsletter
Photo: Malmö, Sweden (August 20219
“A calmer, serener vision of cities is needed to help them fulfil their true potential as places not just of the body but of the spirit. The greatest energy of cities should be directed directed towards creating masterpieces of human creativity.” -Creating Sustainable Cities, Herbert Girardet
I started reading Girardet’s ‘Creating Sustainable Cities’ (Schumacher Briefing No. 2) in late August 2021 in the southern Swedish city of Malmö. I found the book to be an incredibly crisp, richly written and exceptionally informative text on sustainable urbanism and appropriate to begin in a city renowned for its sustainability initiatives.
I bring this memory up as this text is what led me to The Schumacher Institute, which later confirmed me as a fellow in February 2022. Fellowship with The Schumacher Institute indicates a close involvement in their mission, institute development and joining others in creating ‘a fair and equitable global society living with the limits of the planet’.
I am greatly honored by this fellowship and affiliation and look forward to continued work at Pedestrian Space that serves to cultivate awareness as well as create and share knowledge on the central role of walkability for truly sustainable urban developments in the 21st century.
Despite the common-sense understanding that humans walk and need to be able to move around the places we inhabit by foot, many communities across the world lack the quality of being truly “walkable”.
At the heart of Pedestrian Space is the assertion that walkability is an essential component of truly healthy and sustainable urbanism.
Imagine if all towns and cities were planned as if walkability was a human right?
Photo: Örebro, Sweden (Winter 2020)
15 Minute City = Good old fashioned urbanism
Pedestrian Space, as social media and website entities, was born in Örebro. Our first pilot City Mobility Survey reflected our viewpoint that this central Swedish city was not only rich with best practices of walkable urbanism, but also serves as a textbook case of a 15 Minute City, which is essentially good old fashioned human scale urbanism.
We believe in looking to and learning from cities which already have, through decades of common sense city planning, established the qualities of being great 10, 15 or 20 minute cities. We look forward to continued surveying on these and other topics, including issues surrounding car dependence and mobility choice.
In early 2022, Pedestrian Space was chosen to be part of the UN-Habitat People-Centered Smart Cities Compendium. We are grateful for the inclusion and to continue our work creating media on the many dimensions of walkability and healthy, vibrant communities.
Global Walkability Correspondents Network
The Global Walkability Correspondents Network was founded in January 2022 as a space to cultivate solidarity for walkability advocates around the world and collectively raise awareness on issues related to the pedestrian experience and state of walkability in our communities.
As of May 2022, the Network has participants from 30 countries and 62 cities around the world in South America, North America, Oceania, Asia, Middle East, Africa & Europe.
Working Groups were established in the Network in 2022 and activated a great deal of synergy and connectivity in the network. Working groups are led by network participants from cities across the world. Geographically related groups currently include a Brazil and an India working group. Thematic working groups include:
Architecture & Urbanism
Children & Environment
Data, Research & Economic Development
Pedestrian Data Collection Toolkit
Pedestrian Risk Management
Streets as Public Space
Walking Infrastructure Guideline
Well-Being & Health
Women & the Built Environment
Our June newsletter will be dedicated to sharing more about these working groups and their activities.
Are you interested in joining the Global Walkability Correspondents Network? Please feel free to contact us to learn more.
2023: Months of Walkability
Pedestrian Space is partnering with Car-Free St. Pete in 2023 for two ‘Months of Walkability’!
April 2023 will be celebrated under the theme of ‘Sustainability’ while October 2023 will be dedicated as a month of ‘Celebration’. The following topics will serve as weekly micro-themes during these two months.
•Shifting the Paradigm
•Green Space & Urbanism
•Economy of Pedestrianization
•Week of Remembrance
•Spotlight on Advocates
Are you interested in learning more and participating in these two monthly initiatives? Please feel free to contact us to start a dialogue.
Photo: Malmö, Sweden (May 2020)
Referencing a concept from a contemporary science fiction classic (The Matrix, 1999), getting red pilled out of the current car-centric matrix is not always a reality shattering event.
To be red pilled in the context of this matrix is to awaken to the reality of car dominance that we as individuals and societies have been subject to.
It can be very subtle, akin to awakening a pattern over an extended period of time.
That's how it was for me.
My original red pill extends back to childhood memories- summer vacations in southern Sweden, when we would regularly ride the local bus and walk around the suburbs and the city. It was a great departure from our very car dependent lifestyle in southern California at the time.
Later, in my early twenties, I began to experience a daily walkable urban lifestyle for the first time after moving to a city in the Pacific Northwest.
When I founded @pedestrianspace in May 2020, these memories rose like puzzle pieces ready to be fit which you can read a bit more about here.
Photo: Kraków, Poland (Winter 2021)
To be red pilled is also to awaken to the reality of truly human scale urbanism being not only possible but present. There are scores of living examples that we can look to and glean practical tips from.
It is also important to recognize and remember that many of our communities that today suffer extreme car dominance, once were walkable…..
Are you interested in sharing a window into your community and mobility habits? Do you live in a very car dependent environment and want to share how this affects your will to walk, your well-being and overall quality of life?
We invite you to connect with us to share more.
Photo: Planty Park, Kraków, Poland (May 2022)
Thank you for reading the first Pedestrian Space newsletter. Our next newsletter, coming out in June 2022, will be all about the Working Groups in the Global Walkability Correspondents Network.
Spring Greetings from Southern Poland.
-Annika Lundkvist, Founder at pedestrianspace.org
Pedestrian Space is a volunteer run initiative. Are you interested in supporting our work via corporate sponsorship, partnership, donations, grant opportunities or other means? Please feel free to contact us.