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Dr Emma Street speaks at Reading Climate Change Festival

Ethical Reading 5

Ethical Reading brought together speakers to share their perspectives on active travel, the benefits it can bring to residents, the town and the wider environment, and how to encourage it.

All speakers addressed the necessity of working towards active travel such as increasing cycling and walking. Making these changes in our communities can help tackle some of the most challenging issues we face as a society – improving air quality, combating climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling congestion on our roads.

At the event, Dr Street examined urban and town regeneration, discussing the confluence of challenges that society now faces; and by extension, how we make use of our urban spaces. She addressed that many of these have been accelerated due to recent crises and all of them require urgent action:

This can't just be about recovery, it's looking for answers such as recovery for what, and perhaps harder, how? Something as seemingly simple as walking and cycling can play a role in bridging the gap between global crisis, strategic carbon reduction targets and localised behaviour such as high street shopping.”

Emma concluded by spotlighting growing opportunities such as policy agenda in active travel and funding for activities that can bring local regeneration and place shaping agendas together, stating that 'as part of long term strategies we need to move towards place sensitive forms of regeneration, where opportunities support active travel and zero carbon goals are acted upon'.

The Reading Climate Change Festival, led by ReadingCan, is part of a mission to bring together communities and organisations to tackle climate change. Their aim is to make Reading a climate-resilient town with net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Find out more about Reading Climate Action Network.

Emma Street

Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Governance
Published 12 October 2021
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