When it comes to the nation-wide poor-health and growing obesity crisis, finding the cure can all start with a simple walk. It has been proven that by just getting up and walking around, people not only feel better, they are healthier. We’re not talking about getting up at 5am, or joining a gym, or learning complex yoga poses… we’re talking about getting out of a chair, out the door, and walking around the block. The thought is, once someone gets walking, it might lead you to other healthy routines. But even if it just starts and stops with walking, it’s at least a start.
To show just how impactful walking can be on our society, the WNY Walks! initiative will be hosting a Walkability Summit on Thursday June 13 and Friday, June 14 at the Downtown Buffalo Grand Hotel.
Buffalo Grand Hotel owner Harry Stinson commented, “Having lived most of my life in Downtown Toronto, I appreciate the vitality of a ‘walkable City’. Greater Buffalo has so much potential in that respect – given the extraordinary architecture, magnificent parks, character neighborhoods, and now, Canalside, all of which are improving even more now.”
Guests to the summit will learn myriad ways to help people to get out walking in out communities. Keynote speakers will be Dr. Ian Thomas of America Walks (Thursday afternoon, June 13), and Amanda O’Rourke, CEO of 8-80 Cities and Buffalo’s Wintermission project (Friday afternoon). See schedule.
- Dr. Ian Thomas is the State and Local Program Director with America Walks, where he develops and delivers education programs about the benefits of walkable communities and strategies to create them. For over a decade Dr. Thomas served as the founding Executive Director of the PedNet Coalition of Colombia, Missouri, where he developed one of the largest Walking School Bus programs in the country, advocated for the adoption of the first “complete streets” policy in Missouri, and worked in reducing neighborhood speed limits to promote walkability.
- Amanda O’Rourke is CEO at 8-80 Cities, a Toronto-based organization promoting livable cities for all ages through strategic planning, policy changes, programs and engaging community members to build environmental, economic, and social capital. O’Rourke also leads 8-80 Cities’ national Wintermission; Buffalo is one of three cities participating in this new initiative, which addresses program implementation and the improvement of pedestrian safety and a positive walking experience to promote walkability and livability in winter cities.
Earlier this year, the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo proclaimed that walking is the gateway exercise that leads to other forms of health routines, which ultimately equates to living healthier lives. The announcement led to the implementation of a new walking series.
The event will address challenges and resources regarding walking and walkability in the Greater Buffalo Region including rural, urban, and suburban neighborhoods.
“The Institute and its partners are excited to announce that the Walkability Summit will feature NY State and Ontario public, private, nonprofit, and citizen sector leaders. Planners and stakeholders are invited to attend. Summit registration is at Eventbrite and student rates available!” – The Wellness Institute
Outcomes of this Event
- Networking/Increased Social Capital
- Community Economic Benefit
- Knowledge Regarding Improving your Neighborhoods Walkability
- Draft Strategic Plan for Improving Walkability in WNY
- Increased Physical Activity
- Formation of Regional Walking Advocacy Consortium
For info on attending, tabling, sponsoring the Summit or partnering with WNY WALKS!, please contact the Wellness Institute at (716) 851-4052 or BeActive@City-Buffalo.org. For more information visit: www.CreatingHealthyCommunities.org or go to Eventbrite to register. Special Buffalo Grand Hotel room rates are available – mention Wellness Institute when booking a room. And remember to bring your walking shoes!