Seminar: Slowing down for a healthier, wealthier and more sustainable city

We held a seminar with speaker Rodney Tolley. For more than a century, a principle goal of transport strategies in the city has been for us to ‘go faster’, in order to save time. What do we do when we see that going faster isn’t saving any time?

Image: thanks to Nice Places

Presentation: Rodney Tolley, Slowing down for a healthier, wealthier and more sustainable city, pdf

The goal of our transport systems is to get us from A to B as quickly as possible but this doesn’t seem to be working, we are not saving time and we are not going anywhere fast. What has our response been to this problem? We re-double our efforts, following the dictum of Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. We have been ignoring the ‘speed paradox’ that speed steals our time. What’s more, it turns out that it steals our money and our health too. So how do we deal with this? Rodney Tolley will answer this question and talk about how maybe it’s time to rethink our transport strategies to make ‘try to go slower’ the goal.

Rodney’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion with Rodney being joined by Dr Caroline Shaw of the University of Otago, Wellington, Iain McAuley of New Zealand Transport Agency and WCC councillor Sarah Free.


Rodney Tolley is the Conference Director of Walk21, the Founder & Director of Rodney Tolley Walks Ltd and an Honorary Research Fellow at Staffordshire University. Walk 21 is a global partnership of walking experts that champions the development of healthy, sustainable and equitable communities where people choose to walk. Rodney was central to the development of the International Charter for Walking, which is has now been signed by over 500 mayors to lead their communities towards better walkability. He is writing a book for Elsevier with Paul Tranter of UNSW Canberra on “Slowing City Transportation: Creating Healthier Places to Live, Work and Play”. He has led hundreds of presentations, walkabouts and workshops in communities across the world, including over 50 cities in Australasia.


Caroline Shaw is a Public Health Medicine Specialist and epidemiologist. She teaches a postgraduate paper in Environmental Health and public health to undergraduate medical students. Her current research is at the interface of transport, health and climate change, particularly around the health opportunities offered by decarbonising the transport sector.

Sarah Free is a Wellington City Councillor. She is the Portfolio leader Public Transport, and Cycling and Walking.

Iain McAuley of New Zealand Transport Agency.

The New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities is co-hosting this event with the NZ Transport Agency.

This seminar was held on Wednesday 6 March 2019 at City Gallery, Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington.

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