Planning ‘on right track’

An international urban planning forum held in Vancouver revealed just how much Red Deer is on the right track, said city councillor Paul Harris.

An international urban planning forum held in Vancouver revealed just how much Red Deer is on the right track, said city councillor Paul Harris.

Harris attended the Vancouver Urban Forum held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The conference was about concentrating on residents, but also about providing ways to get around cities for recreation, work and other experiences.

Red Deer is currently doing an Integrated Movement Study that looks at all aspects of transportation.

“The conference was all about creating proper land use while minimizing the number of vehicle miles… and how do you increase transit and walkability. All those things are linked to wellness in a community.”

Planners from all over the world attended and they back up these ideas with data, Harris said.

“It really makes us feel that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Harris.

“The community is telling us the right things and those things are really going to make a difference. I am more committed to the (city’s) strategic direction than I ever have been.”

Harris remarked that Red Deer is adding 20 kms of bike lanes this year while some of the big cities in the world are adding 160 km of bike lanes, and they are seen as being “progressive.”

A total of 23 speakers were on hand.

Harris was intrigued by one presenter who described the correlation between global violence and the way city grows.

As cities get bigger, there’s actually less violence in the world, Harris said.

“If we plan cities well, we actually reduce global violence,” he said on Friday. “It shows that what we do here has to be done well.”

Harris learned people have more opportunities in urban versus rural areas and so if they “feel they can influence and they have a good quality of life, they are less likely to be violent.”

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