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Engaged Urbanism Lecture Series – Day 3

Organisation Queen's University Belfast Planning Society
Date 10th October 2023 04:00 PM (GMT)

The Planning Society at Queen’s University Belfast invite you to enjoy a series of lectures showcasing progressive planning practice and emerging research.

16.00 BST on Tuesday 10th October – “Beyond Greenways: The Next Step for City Trails and Walking Routes” webinar with Robert Searns

In Beyond Greenways: The Next Step for City Trails and Walking Routes, greenways expert, Robert Searns, makes a case for walking infrastructure that serves a more diverse array of people. He builds on the legacy of boulevards, parkways, and greenways to introduce a next generation of more accessible pathways, wide enough for two people to stroll together, that stitch together urban and suburban areas. With more trails built near neighborhoods that haven’t had access to them, more people can get around on foot, in town or further out. Searns lays out practical advice on how to plan and design them, garner community support, and get them built. Drawing inspiration from the US and abroad, he introduces two models—grand loop trails and town walks. Grand loop trails are regional-scale, 20 to 350-mile systems that encircle metro areas, running along the edges where city meets countryside. Town walks are shorter—2 to 6-mile routes in cities. Throughout, Searns presents examples that embody these ideals, from Tucson’s Turquoise Trail, created by just two people with an idea and some left-over blue paint the city had, to a more deluxe 5-mile loop in Denver, to the Maricopa trail in Phoenix, a completed 315 mile grand loop. He also envisions these trails in new places across North America.

Planners, trail advocates, community leaders and those who just want closer-in places to hike or walk will find the tools they need to develop successful and affordable plans, including how to envision them to fit various settings and strategies for implementation. Now is the time to think beyond greenways, to pursue a legacy of accessible pedestrian routes for this, and future, generations.

Robert Searns has a four-decade history of visualizing, planning, and getting trails and greenway projects built. He was Project Director of Denver’s Platte River and Mary Carter Greenways—both national-award-wining projects. He helped plan the Grand Canyon National Park Greenway, played a key role on the Memphis Wolf River Greenway, and authored the Commerce City, CO Walk, Bike, Fit Master Plan. He co-authored Greenways: A Guide to Planning Design and Development (Island Press)—published in the U.S. and China—and contributed to Greenways: The Beginning of an International Movement (Elsevier Press). He has written for Planning, Landscape Architecture, LA China, and American Trails Magazines and has served as Editor-in-Chief of Trails and Beyond Magazine. He’s been a keynote speaker in the U.S. and Asia and a trainer for the U.S. National Park Service and the Urban Land Institute. He chaired American Trails and was a founder of The World Trails Network as well as being a delegate to the America’s Great Outdoors White House conclave. He resides, writes, hikes and bikes near Denver, Colorado.

This event takes place online and is free.

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