America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative are excited to announce the 2017 National Walking Summit, “Vital and Vibrant Communities: The Power of Walkability.” The National Walking Summit has always explored the co-benefits walking and walkability can provide to an individual and community. For the 2017 National Walking Summit, the conference will expand what is meant by the term healthy to include not only physical health, but also the social, economic and civic health. Walkability is at the cornerstone of creating neighborhoods that are vital and vibrant, allowing all members of a community to enjoy health, social and economic benefits in a variety of forms.
Vital and vibrant communities provide access to basic needs and services, encourage involvement and build connections between individuals and with the larger community. These communities aim to support a high quality of life for everyone. They are places where arts and cultural expression are encouraged and celebrated. They make safety a priority and understand both the community and personal responsibility for maintaining safe places. They value health equity, by providing equal access and opportunities for healthy living. They cultivate sustainable economic growth, promote civic engagement and value the protection of the environment and historical places. Every neighborhood can be vital and vibrant. The act of walking and the infrastructure that promotes walking for people of all ages and abilities is fundamental to building vibrancy and vitality in neighborhoods and communities.
The 2017 National Walking Summit will further define, describe and illustrate the influence and power of walkability in creating vital and vibrant places. Not only will the Summit highlight the well-known influences that walking has on physical, mental, and cognitive health, we will showcase how diverse neighborhoods and different communities have used walking and walkability to promote social and civic engagement. We will explore the power of walking together and how through the creation of vital and vibrant communities, we can bridge community divides and overcome existing disparities.