Researchers from Ontario Tech investigating strategies and solutions for promoting healthy and active transportation in urban areas

    Ontario Tech researchers visited this bicycle parking area at Denmark’s University of Copenhagen that also allows for water collection from cloud bursts. This is an example of how architects are integrating climate adaptations into their designs, making public spaces more visually appealing, and multi-purpose. (September 2023)

    Canada’s population has been increasingly urbanized over the years, with nearly 82% of Canadians residing in urban communities in 2022. While life in mid-size cities offers many conveniences and cultural experiences, it also comes with drawbacks such as higher living costs, limited space, increased noise, pollution, and challenges related to transportation and commuting. Smaller cities often lack the resources and funds to address these issues on a larger scale.

    Improving cities for a healthier and more people-centred environment

    A team from the City of Oshawa and Durham Region, led by Dr. Shilpa Dogra from Ontario Tech University Faculty of Health Sciences, recently participated in a five-day workshop in Denmark. The workshop, organized by 8 80 Cities, aimed to create healthier, equitable, and sustainable cities for all. Ontario Tech was one of four Canadian delegations that explored Copenhagen’s success with active transportation initiatives.

    • Fun fact: 8 80 Cities seeks to develop safe, active communities for people of all ages, from eight to eighty.

    Dr. Dogra shares insights from the Denmark visit and how they can be applied to create healthy, active, age-friendly, accessible, and inclusive communities in Canada. Copenhagen, previously a car-centric city, has transformed into one of the most preferred places to live due to its fast and easy transportation options. Public spaces in the city are designed for everyone’s use, including adults who are encouraged to play and enjoy themselves. The staff members in Copenhagen’s various departments share a common vision of prioritizing the city’s residents’ enjoyment and quality of life.

    While Canada already focuses on accessibility, inclusion, and community consultation, Dr. Dogra emphasizes the need for data and evidence to support the implementation of sustainable solutions to promote active transportation in mid-size cities.

    Future plans: Day-long workshop at Ontario Tech

    The Ontario Tech team will be hosting a learning and networking event in June 2024. The event, titled “Data-driven decisions for healthy, equitable mid-sized cities,” aims to bring together professionals interested in transforming mid-size cities. Those interested are encouraged to sign up for updates on the event.

    Following the June 2024 workshop, Dr. Dogra aims to collaborate with the PACE Mobility Group and other researchers, partners, municipal staff, planners, and advocates to support mid-size cities in developing evidence-informed and sustainable solutions for their communities.

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