Everybody Walks!

14-18 October 2024 | Lisbon, Portugal

📍 Venue: Iscte – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Avenida das Forças Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa

The 24th International Walk21 Conference on Walking and Liveable Communities is being hosted by the Institute of Mobility and Transport on behalf of the Government of the Portuguese Republic in partnership with the City of Lisbon, Iscte, and Walk21.

Together with experts from across Europe and around the globe this in-person only event will share insights and expertise on how to develop and implement walking policies and programmes that deliver walkable communities and safer streets, broader community participation and enhance the value of walking.

Calling politicians, engineers, campaigners, academics, and planners to share your experience and be part of the discussions and activities at Walk21 Portugal.

You are invited to discuss how walking policies and projects are transforming the urban paradigm; impacting people’s walking experiences; helping deliver on safety, equity and climate goals and attracting investment for urban development that supports people walking.

Join us as we explore what makes a successful national policy, local action or transformative project for walking.


Portugal wants everybody to walk. According to the 2021 Census, 15.7% of commuter movements are made on foot. Increasing the number of people walking every day to access work, education, health care, markets, and public transport is a national ambition.

In 2023, the Portuguese government approved a national policy for walking. The national strategy for walking has 5 strategic vectors, 10 lines of action and 21 measures and was held up as an example at ITF and COP28 to inspire other national governments. There is a dedicated team to coordinate the implementation of measures that will benefit communities across the whole country.

The global momentum for more walkable communities is growing. The call for more walking, more safety, more accessible infrastructure, more national plans, better integration between health and transport and environment and better conditions for people to enjoy walking, is being heard. 

Experts from around the world will gather in Lisbon in October to share their expertise and identify the next important steps we need to foster communities that support and enhance the walking experience for everyone.

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has been delivering its walking accessibility plan for more than 10 years. Inspired by citizen rights and inclusivity, the existing policy is ambitious and seeks to involve the community in improving the walking space and removing barriers through the work of a core team of experts delivering under the stewardship of the Deputy Mayor. The focus is on delivery and success will be a city accessible, safe and pleasant to all.


Our Walk21 Portugal conference themes are:

The diversity of people who walk is huge and includes all age groups and genders, a wide range of physical and mental abilities, income, and ethnicity. It is essential to ensure policies that benefit everyone walking – especially those walking for necessity as they have no choice and those who would like to walk but have no alternative to driving because the distances are too long, or it is unsafe to walk. 

Portugal is revising the national inclusive accessibility law and is interested to discuss how walking, which has the characteristics of a human right, could be embedded into legal statutes.

Contributions are invited that share relevant walking research, data collection, policie, campaigns and projects that are successfully targeting people from all walks of life and supporting everybody to walk.

Walking is not always a positive experience. It is possible however to invest in the quality of streets and public space so that they are safe, accessible, attractive and valued. 

In Portugal investing in quality walking environments is key to the delivery of the national strategy integral to the future urban mobility vision. In Lisbon, the city is reallocating road space on the main boulevards to walking, pedestrianising many of the downtown areas, and has set ambitious design standards to ensure beautiful streets lead to positive experiences.

Contributions are invited that demonstrate positive experiences by people walking, through design decisions and practical transformations, infrastructure improvements and interventions.

Walking is being talked up as an affordable, quick, and reliable solution to help reach several goals including the Paris climate targets. With the promise of new money for mitigation and adaptation 

Portugal is embedding commitments to walking in their climate actions as well as their transport plans. 

Contributions are invited that share how walking policies and actions are delivering on SDG and climate goal commitments, including as part of the journey for public transport access and egress, accessibility commitments and just transitions.

Recent research highlights that Portugal is one of 118 countries that has some sort of national policy for walking. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in national policy commitments and also at the city level.

The vision, ambition and effectiveness of policies can be limited by the governance framework. In Portugal an inter-ministerial commission for active mobility was set up, bringing together various areas of government to discuss actions of the national walking strategy. At a city level, Lisbon also engages a multidisciplinary team, including representatives from different departments, to ensure their walking plan is delivered.

Contributions are invited that share good governance approaches for delivering effective walking policies, how different levels of government coordinate and collaborate and how interdepartmental working ensures a cohesive approach.


Do you have questions?

Do you have questions about the conference or would you like to discuss your idea for the Call for Contributions with the organisers?

Don’t hesitate to contact us or sign up to the newsletter to stay in touch.

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