Every two years, California Walks puts on a summit for activists, planners and government staff workers for PedsCount. This year, the two-day gathering focuses on ways to elevate community voices in the planning process, whether they be location-based communities, or communities of people with special needs, or groups that have traditionally been excluded from the planning process.
"One of Cal Walks' core values is that communities are the best experts on their own lived experience and the best advocates for their own prosperity," writes Chris Johnson, a program manager with California Walks.
"We can support and organize and amplify, but it starts with rethinking the relationships among cities, nonprofits, and community members. So our goal isn't just 'better community engagement,' it's co-creation. It's re-imagining the engagement process as expert consultation, and it's ultimately about moving towards a California where we don't need 'equity,' where institutions look like and respect the experience of the communities they serve. Everyone's dignity and mobility counts."
Roy, a specialist in helping planners create projects and programs for people with special needs, joined us for a podcast last month.
"In transportation there are a lot of examples of how when you design for people with disabilities, you come up with solutions that are best for everyone," Roy explained. "To open up our transportation systems so that they're more accessible helps us open them up for everyone. We're designing it for everyone." She gave examples about how building entrances that are accessible to people with disabilities is also building for people walking a bicycle or carrying groceries.
This year's conference will be held on October 18 and 19 in San Jose. For more information, click here to visit the event webpage. For those impacted, the conference has an APA CM (certification maintenance) credit notification. Tickets are still available until Friday.