Nicholas Loder, travelled to Barcelona, Spain, to attend the 2017 International Conference on Health and Transport (ICTH) and present a poster (pictured). Here is his report of the event and his poster.
“My poster highlights the need to provide affordable social housing with a tested universal design provision. A case study of a built project in South Western Sydney demonstrated how moving from the Livable Housing Design Guidelines’ Platinum Level to the Gold Level provided sufficient features for future modifications for disability requirements, plus a significant reduction in floor area. This allows for an increase in social housing units per development”.
The poster is also a statement about actors in the planning world and how at the heart of planning is people in all their diversity, a key approach in universal design. This was echoed in the presentation from the Keynote speaker Luise Norling from Brookings Institute Copenhagen and workshop speakers from Skidmore Owens and Merrill, all of whom emphasised the political role interventions require for urban planning decisions are inclusive for all the city’s citizens.
A particularly interesting and age friendly experimental intervention showcased in one of the workshops was the work undertaken by Barcelona City to take cars away from the streets. By reconfiguring the car transport grid into Superblocks or ‘Superilla’, basically using two levels of priority for the existing (busy) grid, ‘internal’ low speed streets could be pedestrianised and made into calm spaces – without demolishing a single building. You can find out more by going to the Barcelona webpage and seeing the video on taking back streets. Note any through (bike only) routes reduced to 10kph!
ICTH is a direct participatory experience. Policy-makers, practitioners and academics from multiple disciplines and professional sectors involved in transport planning and engineering, public health, urban planning, spatial and architectural design, environmental planning, economics and beyond, convened at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) Campus Mar located in Barcelona, Spain, 27-29 June 2017, to share their stories of success and failure; build world-wide collaborative friendships; but most importantly, leave inspired.