Engineering a More Walkable Westfield with Expert Mark Fenton
The Westfield State University Guest Lecture series continues with active living consultant Mark Fenton who will present his lecture, “Increasing Health and Physical Activity with Sticky Design” on Thursday, October 1 at 7 p.m. in Scanlon Banquet Hall. The event is collaboration between Westfield State, Friends of the Columbia Greenway, the City of Westfield, and the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce
Fenton frequently serves as a consultant on bicycle and pedestrian community plans. Fenton will discuss the health and physical inactivity crisis among Americans and explain how the designs of communities can impact the lifestyles of its residents. He is the former host of the “America’s Walking” series on PBS, which suggested walking routes across the country, offered tips to incorporate walking into a daily habit, and shared stories of people whose lives have been transformed by incorporating walking into their lifestyle.
A member of the United States racewalking team from 1986-1991, Fenton competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Trials in the 50 kilometer racewalk. He has written five books about the benefits of walking including “The 90-Day Fitness Walking Program” and “The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness.”
Event organizer Marijoan Bull, Westfield State associate professor of geography and regional planning, said Fenton’s lecture comes at a relevant time for the City of Westfield. “With the reconstruction of Park Square, the new parks along the river, the ever lengthening Columbia Greenway Rail Trail (now in downtown), and the Gaslight District improvements, the city is taking steps to encourage walking and biking in the heart of the community,” Bull said. “In order for this work to develop into a functional network, we need to consider next steps for designing for public health and making sure everyone has equitable access to healthy transportation and recreational options.”
In addition to the lecture, there will be a Community Leadership Breakfast held on Friday, October 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Free and open to the public, Fenton will outline evidence-based design principles that have been shown to bring communities economic vibrancy and improved public health. The workshop will be interactive with key officials, community leaders, residents, and students brainstorming responses and approaches appropriate for Westfield. For more information on upcoming speakers in the Guest Lecture Series, please visit http://www.westfield.ma.edu/guest-lecture-series.