What’s a WalkShop?
April 5, 2017
What’s a WalkShop?
It’s a workshop…with a twist.
SPAAR’s Community Engagement Committee is sponsoring WalkShop: Safer Pedestrian Crossings in Saint Paul’s North End Community on Wednesday, April 19. This event is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Association of REALTORS®. SPAAR’s members, elected officials and North End residents have been invited to participate in this day-long event. One question—what’s a WalkShop? Before we answer that question, let’s back up a little bit…. What’s so important about Walkable Communities?
Walkable Communities are neighborhoods where residents can access amenities, shopping and services without using a car. Walkable Communities promote healthy lifestyles with greater focus on a sense of community. Many Walkable Communities feature small and locally-owned businesses. Walkable Communities are popular with homeowners (and home buyers!) of all ages, but especially resonate with younger home buyers. The 2015 National Community and Transportation Preference Survey found that millennials, those aged 18–34, prefer walking as a mode of transportation by 12 percentage points over driving. Millennials are also shown to prefer living in attached housing, living within walking distance of shops and restaurants, and having a short commute, and they are the most likely age group to make use of public transportation.
A WalkShop has three parts:
- A workshop where participants learn about Walkable Communities. SPAAR’s event will feature consultants from Blue Zones, Inc., presenting on the characteristics of Walkable Communities. Participants learn how Walkable Communities impact residents’ lifestyles—and how increasing “Walkability” can encourage healthy living and social connectivity and promote sustainable business development.
- A walking tour of an area to identify features that make an area walkable, or find opportunities to make an area more welcoming, from a walkability standpoint. Participants break into teams to cover an area where they can gather information and assign personal scores.
- Brainstorming: Participants share their notes and scores. Consultants will pull together suggestions and identify potential projects. SPAAR’s WalkShop will include the use of overlay photos to help visualize potential changes.
The WalkShop is a resource for communities provided by REALTOR® members to engage residents, elected officials and other stakeholders. The WalkShop is an opportunity for people to get involved by focusing on the potential of an area.