Designing streets to enable safer and more liveable neighbourhoods

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Hosted by the Urban Transport Knowledge Hub, this session will cover Designing streets to enable safer and more liveable neighbourhoods.

About this Event

Join us to hear from a panel of experts on designing streets to enable safer and more liveable neighbourhoods.

With high and growing levels of private vehicle use in New Zealand, coupled with increasing urban density, motorised traffic is playing an increasing role in the health, safety and liveability of our communities.

During Level 4 Lockdown in New Zealand, a large number of people were confined to their homes and local neighbourhoods. This dramatically reduced all forms of travel. The decline in the use of neighbourhood traffic was particularly marked during this period and presented somewhat of a “natural experiment” into what life could look like with less traffic.

Dr Kirsty Wild explored what people noticed about this brief reduction in levels of traffic and the impact this had on their neighbourhood.

Kirsty will share the findings of this research, including people’s observations about the experience of, and challenges associated with, social distancing at the neighbourhood level that could be used to maximise community resilience during future periods of confinement.

In this context, we will also hear from a panel of experts on the challenges and opportunities to take these learnings forward, to design streets – our greatest public asset - that enable better outcomes for people and communities.


12:30pm – Presentation from Dr Kirsty Wild on her research paper, Life in a Low Traffic Neighbourhood

1:00pm – Panel discussion on designing streets to enable safer and more liveable neighbourhoods.

1:45pm – Audience Q&A’s

About the speakers

Dr Kirsty Wild

Dr Kirsty Wild is an environmental sociologist who works in public health. She researches the impacts of environments on wellbeing, and she has a particular interest in transport. In recent years has conducted research on e-biking, low-traffic neighbourhoods, transport and mental health, and mobility and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathryn King

Kathryn King is the Urban Mobility Manager at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, where she is focussed on helping people in Aotearoa move around easily in ways that build our health and take care of the planet.Her team is focussed on accelerating the pace of change, with the Innovating Streets for People programme one of their flagships to achieve this. She joined Waka Kotahi following four years with Auckland Transport where she oversaw the city's largest ever investment in cycling. Kathryn spent 15 years in London, managing walking, cycling and safety projects, over eight years with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea where she delivered award winning cycling schemes.

Greer O’Donnell

Greer is an urban strategist and co-founder of the Urban Advisory, a consultancy that specialises in human-centered urban development. Having worked for the public, private and community sectors, Greer's focus is on harnessing partnerships between these groups to co-create better built environments. Greer also Chairs the Society for Alternative Housing Development (see

Dr Rebecca Kiddle

Rebecca began her career working for the Aotearoa/New Zealand government, where she worked as a Housing policy analyst and as a Private Secretary for the Associate Minister of Housing. She then went on to complete MA and PhD in urban design at the Joint Centre for Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University, and undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London. Rebecca is currently a Senior Lecturer, Urbanism at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture where her research addresses topics such as decolonising Aotearoa New Zealand cities + Indigenous place identities, Māori housing and urban design, spatial justice, rangatahi (youth) involvement in built environment decision-making, urban and suburban spaces for community building and third places, and the politics of the production of place.

Holly Walker

Holly Walker is Deputy Director and WSP Fellow at the Helen Clark Foundation, and the author of the recent report The Shared Path: how low-traffic neighbourhoods in Aotearoa's cities can decarbonise transport, save lives, and create the connected urban communities we need in a post-pandemic future. She was previously Principal Advisor at the Office of the Children's Commissioner, and was a Green MP from 2011-14. She has an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford (undertaken on a Rhodes Scholarship), and is a current PhD candidate at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.

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