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Call for Proposals--Canada WALKS 2011 Conference

Deadline Feb. 18, 2011

Vancouver, British Columbia
October 3-5, 2011

Over the past fifty years, cities around the world have been designed primarily for high-speed motor vehicle traffic, resulting in places where residents are often physically unable or have no incentive to walk to basic necessities. Increasingly, we are realizing that such places have a negative impact on health through physical inactivity; generate more greenhouse gas emissions; are more susceptible to rising energy prices; and are less able to retain their economic value.   

To address these major social, health, environmental, and economic issues, the key challenge of the next fifty years will be to transform these auto-dependent communities into places where walking is once again a viable and preferred option. The Walk21 Metro Vancouver partnership of community groups, health authorities, universities and governments is proud to present an international conference to discuss how car dependent communities around the world can take the next steps beyond the automobile city.  

Participants are invited to follow their heads, their hearts and their hands, and vote with their feet by contributing in the following ways:  

  • Heads: How do we make the case for walking, so that decision-makers and fund-holders can be persuaded that walking offers value for money, efficiency and fairness in our public spaces, transport systems and communities? We welcome original, qualitative and quantitative research from different disciplines that provides evidence to inform and inspire the development of more effective local and national policies.   
  • Hearts: Walking is a sensory experience as well as a physical act which has inspired many of the world's most influential artists, authors, philosophers and scholars and improves our mental and physical well being.  We welcome submissions, in any media, to explore the "culture of walking" and to show how to encourage communities and individuals to embrace and value the art of walking.  
  • Hands: Celebrating achievements and learning lessons are essential to progress. This stream invites on-going and completed evaluations of projects and initiatives. Business cases will be welcomed, as well as evidence-based evaluations and practical examples of interventions that promote walkability.   
  • Feet: Take us on your favourite walk and explain what makes it work!  We welcome proposals for walkshops in the public realm that demonstrate the potential to create an environment that will be better for walking; and show how that potential is realised in partnerships between neighbourhoods, decision-makers and businesses.  

Proposals can include, but needn't necessarily be limited to:

  • Breakout presentations (20 minutes)
  • Posters
  • Walkshops (outdoor activities)
  • Webcasts (live web based debates or presentations)
  • Multimedia (graphic art, sculpture, video or film)
  • Walk21 Pecha Kucha: a handful of presenters will illustrate and describe their projects in a tight and dynamic format, using 20 images, each put on the screen for 20 seconds. See
  • Interactive video conferencing.The Wosk Centre for Dialogue's Asia Pacific Hall provides for state of the art interactive video conferencing with participants from around the world. If you have a walking advocate, politician or practitioner that cannot make it to Vancouver but is available for this video conferencing, let us know your idea and how it fits into the themes of the conference. We have the technology to meet and see your best practices explained by your local experts in your own back yard. Show us how you walk the talk!

To submit online or download the PDF form, as well as for all updates and details about the conference, visit