Latest News International Conference hosted by TU Dublin

International Conference hosted by TU Dublin



19-23 September 2022


Call for Proposals Now Open


In partnership with Walk21, a charity dedicated to the right to walk, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) will welcome leading politicians, environmental experts, not for profit organisations, and community activists to Dublin for a global conference examining how to reinvent our urban, suburban and rural communities to be more walkable and sustainable. Connecting experts from around the world with local practitioners and community activists, the conference will celebrate the importance of walking and showcase innovative solutions to deliver on climate change targets and address the climate emergency.


The Walk21 International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities, taking place in September 2022, is supported by the Department of Health, Department of Transport and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media on behalf of the Government of Ireland and non-profit organisations from across the sport, health and transport sectors.


Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D., said: The Walk21 Conference will provide us with a great opportunity to highlight the benefits and importance of walking, and the progress already underway in Ireland to provide safe and connected infrastructure for those who choose to walk to work or school or recreationally on our Greenway Network. The Government have set out an ambitious and wide-ranging set of commitments in relation to walking and cycling, and in keeping with this I am pleased that our support will ensure that the Walk21 Conference can be held in Ireland in 2022. My announcement earlier this week of funding of €289m for investment in cycling and walking in 2022 is further confirmation of the Government’s commitment to this area and builds on the significant progress of the last couple of years. As we work towards a significant reduction in our climate emissions, the Walk 21 Conference will provide a unique platform for discussion at international level and most importantly inspire people to get walking.


Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers T.D., said, “Our strong financial support for the Walk 21 Conference reflects the importance that we attach to the promotion of walking in the overall effort to achieve a more physically active population.  Walking is a great form of exercise that brings many physical and mental health benefits. During the pandemic, it was great to see so many people out walking in the fresh air. We need however to build on the evident goodwill of people towards walking, not just for leisure but as part of everyday life. It would be a sign of real progress if we can get more people walking to and from the shops, to sports training, or to a match, or to school or work. That to me is a key challenge to be overcome and I hope that Walk 21 can provide some vital insights in that respect.”


Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well-Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D., said: “I am very happy that Ireland is hosting this important conference. I am very keen to promote walking because it’s a simple and free form of exercise that anyone, at any level of fitness, can do. It’s a great boost to physical and mental health and also benefits the environment. The Walk21 Ireland Conference will provide a great opportunity for us to promote the benefits of walking, not just in Ireland but internationally.”  


Launching a call for conference proposals, Jennifer Boyer, Vice President for Sustainability at TU Dublin, said, “The Walk21 International Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities provides Ireland with a unique opportunity to bring together key stakeholders that must work together to address the global climate emergency and the need for more efficient and effective transport systems, safer and healthier communities, along with more walking as part of everyday life.”


Continuing, Ms Boyer said, “The mission of Walk21 fits very well with how TU Dublin views the world around us and our three strategic pillars of People, Planet and Partnership. To reflect our shared values and promote our sustainability ethos, the global Walk21 Ireland conference will be a hybrid event providing over 5,000 delegates from across the globe the opportunity to attend online, maximising our international reach while minimising our environmental footprint.”


Bronwen Thornton, CEO of Walk21, explains the conference will draw attention to a thriving international community committed to promoting healthy and sustainable communities and influencing national and international policy about walk-friendly infrastructure in our urban, suburban and rural areas. “This is a landmark conference for Walk21 and the international walking community. With a national focus and academic host, the event will bring a spotlight to what national governments can do to advance the international agenda in support of local action for more walking and stimulate the research required to inform that action. Ireland is leading the world with its commitments to walking, and we look forward to inspiring others to step up and join the momentum.”


This event directly supports and actively implements key interdependent national policies and strategies, including the Climate Action Plan, the National Planning Framework, National Physical Activity Plan, National Sports Policy, Our Rural Future, Community Enhancement Programme, Healthy Ireland Framework, and the upcoming Sustainability Mobility Policy.


Walk21 is a charity dedicated to ensuring the right to walk. Working with communities, agencies, governments and people from all walks of life, Walk21 contributes to policy debate, develops and share tools and resources and promotes the value of walking for all.




For more information, please contact: Lisa Saputo,, 086 701 5268


Notes to Editor:


  1. TU Dublin Strategic Intent to 2030


The mission of Walk21 aligns with the University’s Strategic Intent three pillars of People, Planet and Partnership. These pillars, derived from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, guide TU Dublin in delivering on our role as a Higher Education Institution to deliver greater value to society.


To reflect our shared values and promote our sustainability ethos, the global Walk21 Ireland conference will be a hybrid event providing over 5,000 delegates from across the globe the opportunity to attend online, maximising our global reach while minimising our environmental footprint.


In addition to presentations from walkability researchers, advocates and practitioners, international conference attendees are all excited and eager to hear more about Ireland’s active leadership in developing walkability-friendly policies and the funding and delivery of walking and cycling infrastructure in community settings across the country.


  1. About Walk21


Walk21 wants to make sure that walking is measured, valued and appropriately provided for so that everyone in the world can choose to walk and enjoy the experience.


Walking is the most fundamental form of mobility. It is inexpensive, emission-free, offers important health-benefits, is accessible for all – except those with substantially impaired mobility – regardless of income, and for many citizens is a source of great pleasure.


Too often walking is a neglected transport mode, despite being at the start and end of all trips, it is rarely captured in government statistics on mobility.  It is often overlooked and under-valued in planning and policy development.



  1. Call For Proposals


The Call for Proposals is open until 18 February and seeks submissions from across Ireland and around the world under the four themes:


Evidence Based Actions

TU Dublin is supporting the Government of Ireland by conducting research, collecting local data and providing expert training for staff to improve the effectiveness and impact of walking policy. Civil engineers, transport planners, health and physical activity experts, architects and urban designers are in collaboration with academics.


Contributions are invited that share relevant walking research, data collection and training systems that are increasing knowledge, skills and building capacity for delivering actions for people walking.


Active Places for People

Streetscape improvements and networks of walking trails in both rural and urban areas are being developed by Sport Ireland and the Irish transport agencies to connect more people with quality infrastructure and support healthy lifestyles.

Contributions are invited that demonstrate how places have been transformed to support and encourage more walking and the impact that has had on the quality of life all year round.


Targeting people to Walk

Encouraging more people to walk more often is a common goal. Understanding the different walking needs of women, children, the elderly, people on low incomes and those with disabilities in particular is helping the Government of Ireland to ensure their policy and investment decisions are inclusive and responsive.

Contributions are invited that share how citizens have been engaged, different needs identified from target groups, and investments in walkability tailored in response.


  1. The Decade to Change

One of the first national campaigns – ‘Get Ireland Walking’ has, for several years, promoted and celebrated the positive outcomes of people walking. Increasingly walking is being valued and measured as integral to addressing the climate emergency and delivering the Sustainable Development Goal commitments.


Contributions are invited that share how walking is being valued, invested in, and monitored, especially in relation to SDGs. This could include examples of walking in road danger reduction plans, Nationally Determined Contributions, or more accessible public transport etc.

More information can be found at:


Walk21 Network