Foundational Memories of Walkability

‘How are you moving today?’

This is how I start many of my talks, workshops and lectures.

I want to dive right into engaging the audience / workshop group / course participants on reflecting on their daily movement. For me it is like getting a peek into the cinema of their daily life through the lens of mobility and space…..

I often reference that this activity is rooted in my decision to start an Instagram account @pedestrianspace in May 2020. In those early days when Pedestrian Space was a simple social media account, my focus was to use the digital space to document best practices and barriers to walkability that I was observing in the environment as well as to connect with others working with and interested in these themes.

The project has grown. First into this website and then establishing a global network GWCN: Global Walkability Correspondents Network (we are at over 260 members today in cities across the world & recently hosted our first in-person retreat here in Warsaw). I later began PhD research with a focus on walkability as a quality of life dimension in sustainable urbanism and with a focus on the 15-minute city in my case study research of a formerly monofunctional business district here in Poland’s capital. This past Summer I established Pedestrian Space as an NGO.

I’ve learned through organizing and hosting multiple urban mobility workshops that I enjoy engaging with the public and also really enjoy engaging with and working with students.

Giving my first guest lecture recently at the Faculty of Architecture at Lund University was the beginning of a path of teaching, where I can engage students of diverse disciplines and nationalities on many dimensions of walkability, often using their city of study (as well as their home cities) as laboratories of investigation, documentation and problem-solving.

I cite the @pedestrianspace social media accounts as the foundation for much of what has grown since but really the roots go back to my childhood- my first connections to walkability as lived experience. Those summer trips from our home in southern California (where car dependence was our norm), to my fatherland in southern Sweden where we would be reyling on our feet and public transit to move around the community from the day we arrived.

It wasn’t until I started this activity with Pedestrian Space that I really connected the dots, realizing how foundational those childhood memories were for how I hold walkability as a core value today.

I think back to myself as a young girl, walking with my father to the local grocery store on our first day of our regular summer holidays to Skåne, how I so enjoyed this basic ritual and that one day, as an adult, I would be looking back to those walks as formative and key life moments.

Looking forward to more learning, teaching, exchange and community engagement.


#sustainableurbanism #sustainablecities