Smart Urban Futures 2016

Note, this is an overview of the Smart Urban Futures conference previously held in March 2016. 
For information on the upcoming conference, see Smart Urban Futures 2017.

Smart Urban Futures conference 2016

On 21-23 March 2016, Victoria Walks held the third annual Smart Urban Futures conference in conjunction with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

Highlights included Maria Vassilakou, the Deputy Mayor of Vienna, who detailed their approach in building a city where the target is 80% of travel by walking, cycling and public transport in 2025.  People oriented public space was the key theme, exhorting us to "let your city be the party!"  In Vienna the party extends to all ages - "we want to create a place where children experience streets not as life threatening spaces but as places to play."  Harnessing people power is part of the plan, with a dedicated fund to provide small scale financial support for citizens to beautify and adopt areas on their street, often for parklets.

Gyles Bendall from Auckland Council in New Zealand described their incredibly successful shared space program, turning inner city streets into shared space for walkers, cars and cyclists, but with pedestrian priority.  Despite the loss of some on-street car parks, this has been a huge boost for retailers, with increases in spending ranging from 27 percent to an incredible 439 percent!

Derek McMillan, CEO of Australian Unity Independent and Assisted Living, discussed new approaches to retirement housing that keep older people engaged in the community, while catering to their changing needs.  The average 65 year old will spend half their remaining life with some level of disability.

Presentations from the conference are available from the MAV website.

Masterclass in travel demand management and behaviour change

In conjunction with the conference, Victoria Walks and MAV hosted a masterclass in travel demand management, bringing together two leading experts in the field:

  • Rose McArthur is a Technical Director in Integrated Transport for Mott MacDonald (UK). Rose is currently leading the travel demand management program for the introduction of light rail to the Sydney CBD.
  • Jonathan Daly is the Principal of The Change Collective, an agency that designs, delivers and evaluates behaviour change programs for environmental sustainability, health promotion and safety/crime prevention. 

The Masterclass was attended by practitioners from RACV, Bicycle Network, health agencies, consultants and a range of councils.

Check out the flier for more details.

Smart Thinking Futures - brain health and physical activity

Exercise has traditionally been thought of as primarily benefiting the cardiovascular system.  While that is certainly true, emerging research suggests that the most powerful effect of regular exercise may be on the brain. 

In this workshop, held on 21 March, Dr Robert Sallis, Past-President of the American College of Sports Medicine, explained how you can get the exercise you need to stay healthy and sharp well into your 80's! Bob reported on amazing research using advanced MRI scanning technology.  Exercise was found to have a remarkable effect on older people's minds - "the first time we've found anything that will cause the brain to grow in old age."

Bob was joined by Helen Morley, National Tranining and Support Co-ordinator for Heart Foundation Walking, who outlined the success of that program.

Check out Dr Sallis' presentation or the event flier for more details.

This seminar was proudly supported by the National Heart Foundation (Victoria).