Designing Walkable Cities

“Walking is the first thing an infant wants to do and the last thing an old person wants to give up”

John Butcher, Founder of Walk21

A 3-year research project between COWI, ARKITEMA and Roskilde University, funded generously by the COWIfonden

Purpose of our project

The future challenge is not only a question of more walking but also one of designing better walking experiences and regulating pedestrian flows to “design out” problems of overcrowding and “dead places”.

Inspired by the concept of mobility, our project of Designing Walkable Cities aims to help cities address these challenges by developing a Living Lab in different cities. The task is not only the frequency and amount of walking but also the perceived qualities of walking for different groups and the overall liveability of a city.

Current Updates

The project is well underway despite obstacles and challenges during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Pre data analyses, design of test installation, testing and analysing test results are about to finish for the Copenhagen case on Istedgade and Enghave Plads.

Knowledge gained in Copenhagen was used to target the pre data collection carried out late summer and autumn 2021 in the Oslo case study in Norway and the Gothenburg case study in Sweden respectively. Development of and execution of tests in the two cities will take place late summer and autumn 2022.

The project is expected to finish approximately summer 2023.

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Walking is a hot topic in discussions about urban mobility, urbanization and UN’s sustainable goals while cities are beginning to invest heavily in walking.

London has announced its first Walking Action Plan in order to “become the world’s most walkable city” and create an extra million walking trips a day.

Copenhagen is focusing heavily on walking as a mode of transport in their upcoming Mobility Plan 2025.

“Walking for life”, The Norwegian Walking Strategy was launched by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in 2012. Several Norwegian cities have conducted local walking strategies. COWI DK and NO have recently worked on a strategy in order to promote walking as a mode of transport and everyday activity for the municipality of Oslo.

COWI DK has done research and tested prototypes of design elements in relation to tourists and walking in Venice to help the municipality cope with 100.000 visitors a day.