The vision for the WALC Institute is to create healthy, connected communities that support active living and that advance opportunities for all people through walkable streets, livable cities and better built environments.
The Institute’s mission is to inspire, teach, connect and support communities in their efforts to improve health and well-being through better built environments.
- We inspire by helping communities envision a better future, by sharing examples and success stories and by displaying a personal commitment to the movement.
- We teach the benefits of walkability and livability as well as provide best practices in designing for active transportation and strategies for successful civic engagement and implementation.
- We connect community members and leaders to important resources, engage them in the process and help them communicate with each other.
- We support with ongoing guidance, educational materials and by celebrating successes widely.
The Institute was formed for charitable, educational and scientific purposes to help communities address the negative effects of the built environment on health, safety, social welfare, economic vitality, environmental sustainability and overall quality of life.
A note from Dan Burden, Co-Founder of the WALC Institute
Active living is the partial healer of many negative effects that have led to isolation and decreasing health of people. Through our work, we show that walkability and livability lead to more attractive and functional communities, which helps improve individual and community health.
Although there is no “silver bullet” to prosperity or sustainability, building towns to a walkable scale, with richly connected streets and blocks, compelling view sheds, and a mix of homes, income levels and land uses helps restore health and well-being. Indeed, walkability is one measure of successful designs that embrace dreams of lively retail, squares and plazas filled with active people.
During my career, I have helped many neighborhoods, towns and cities of all regions, scales and complexity learn how to become more inventive and prosperous. What started out as a premise–that successful communities are designed around the human foot–has been reinforced in more than 3,500 cities and towns across North America and the world. Quite simply, walkable communities work.
Yet, walkable and livable communities are harder to build than conventional communities. More collaboration is needed and many who have been schooled in city making (engineers, architects, planners, and landscape architects) have not been given all of the tools, or in some cases, they have the wrong tools. We provide inspiration, training, connections and support that give communities the tools and skills they need to first envision and then implement their dreams.
Through educational courses, workshops, charrettes, walkability audits, capacity-building materials and guidance, we help communities find a course correction and ways to move forward effectively and efficiently. The philosophy of the WALC Institute team is that communities should advance opportunities for all people and a meaningful way to do so is by supporting active living through walkable streets, livable cities and better built environments.