The built environment has a great impact on the health and wellbeing of people. Gregor Mews currently works as an advisor on integrated urban design and active living in Canberra. In his recent TED talk, Greg gives insight into the interrelationship of urban planning and a healthy community. “The car transports us from A to B very efficiently, but it degrades the value of the space in between to almost nil”, says Greg. In most Australian cities problems would surface once people couldn’t get access to petrol for a day. “How would you reach the shopping centre in such a scenario?” asks Greg.
However, the urban designer sees the potential to overcome the problem in Australian cities. With 10% of all car trips made for less than one kilometre and 30% of trips car journeys made over a distance of less than 3 kilometre there is great opportunity for urban renewal and creating “cosiness in the city”. Or in other words, to design spaces in which people feel comfortable and safe to spend their time.
Greg Mews was a member of our speaking panel at Regional Transport 2012. In his presentation, he addressed the issue of making active transport work in low density environments. For more information about his work and inspiration as an urban designer, visit Greg’s blog.