Champion of walkability, Dan Burden


MONDAY StreetTalk! LivableStreets hosts special guest DAN BURDEN, champion of walkability!
Mon. Mar. 10, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
founder of Walkable Communities, consultant for Glatting Jackson [ @ IHCD showroom, North Station ]

As founder and executive director of Walkable Communities, Inc., Burden spends his days walking the streets of America, advising politicians and civic leaders on how to make their communities more pedestrian and cyclist friendly. It's a challenging and daunting task to get everyone to slow down in our motorist-dominated world, but the rewards are tangible and often surprising. In the realm of "livable streets," Dan is a hero. His photographs and stories from around the world will completely change how you view walking.

Burden is part of the suddenly arrived profession that promotes new kinds of communities. He is one of a (small but growing) group of itinerant designers and facilitators are now crisscrossing the country conducting workshops with local residents. They're exploring the possibilities of changing streets and buildings in ways that would add pleasure and reassurance to cities and towns. Does a city become more lovable as it becomes more livable? Can we find a balance between cars and people? What about the even trickier balance between land and cars and people? Can developers and local officials move from blueprints to "greenprints," so that a town's growth plans add green space to people's lives, instead of taking it away? These are a few of the many questions that Dan tackles. But it's not easy. "I tell my audiences that Schopenhauer long ago defined the three stages all new ideas go through: ridicule, violent opposition, and acceptance," says Burden. "I've never yet seen a single step skipped in any community."

Once called the "Johnny Appleseed" of livable communities, Dan drives forward as confidently as if he were entering his own neighborhood, and talks about his work and his vision of the slowly emerging, post-sprawl America. People's optimism about improving their communities often wavers when they talk about the clutter, confusion, and congestion they see through their windshields. It falters again when they reach inside themselves to describe the absences sprawl imposes on their lives: It steals time, choice, and proximity to others--not just open space. We are not only farther away from schools and shops, from friends and neighbors, from fields and woods; more and more of each day is given over to a tense, effortful, unnourishing, and for now unavoidable in- between-ness. This townless, countryless, road- bound running around stretches us thin; our bodies are in motion-but what is there around us to anchor our hearts and minds?

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free and open to the public, donation suggested, beer/sodas provided compliments of Harpoon Brewery!

Come by early and browse the new Institute for Human Centered Design showroom!

The showroom is a fantastic place to explore the field of Human Centered Design. Manufacturers on the cutting edge of the field, some household names and some unfamiliar to American audiences, exhibit their actual products as well as demonstrating products via DVD.