The Walk21 Hong Kong Conference kicked off its five-day event at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center as representatives from Hong Kong and around the world signed the International Charter for Walking, pledging to promote walking as a key component in the future urban design of cities. From October 3 to 7, experts from numerous disciplines, ranging from urban planning to the environment to healthcare, discussed how walkability can be achieved through architecture, city landscaping, and technology and innovation. City mayors, government officials and academics shared their experience and insights based on real-life projects. This year CEO and founder of Walkspan, Bernardita Calinao, made not only an appearance at the conference, but also made two presentations, the Walkspan Layer App and the Central Harlem study on obesity which was funded by the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science.
The first presentation was about the ongoing Central Harlem study in which Dr. Calinao makes the case that increasing walkability in the Central Harlem area can reduce obesity. By using a microscale approach, it is possible to find opportunities to improve areas so they are more walkable. In the second presentation, Dr. Calinao introduces the Walkspan Layer App which lets users know which sidewalks are more walkable based on their interests. Pedestrians can use the app to find more pleasant routes to their destination.
Dr. Calinao said, “Walk21 Hong Kong was a world class conference – almost seamlessly organized and overwhelmingly abundant in shared knowledge about walking from leading international experts in transportation, environment, urban design and human health. The Walk21 conference offered a shift in paradigm by placing walking front and center in our goal to create a sustainable environment and healthy living during the 21st century through multi-sector collaborations.”
This is the 17th annual International Walk21 Conference and the first time ever that the event had been held in Asia. Civic Exchange CEO Maura Wong said, “Walk21 Hong Kong breaks new ground – by assembling a large number of government officials from Hong Kong, Singapore, Stockholm, Berlin, and other parts of the world in the same room with industry experts and civic leaders to talk about a new vision for cities of the future. It is also the first time walking and walkability command such a high level of exposure and expert discussion in Hong Kong. We hope this will catalyze real change in our city.”