New Webinar: Beyond the Physical: Mental and Social Benefits of Walkable Communities


Webinar Title: Beyond the Physical: Mental and Social Benefits of Walkable Communities

Webinar Date/Time: Wednesday November 20 at 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific


About the Webinar

Walking and walkability are not only good for our bodies, but they’re also good for our minds and interpersonal relationships. Learn about the myriad of benefits of walking that extend beyond our individual physical health. This webinar is intended for those who are familiar with topics and issues related to walking and walkability.

Attendees of this webinar will be able to:

  • Explain how walking and walkability are associated with social connectedness and a positive sense of well-being.
  • Give examples of the mental and social benefits correlated with walking and walkability.
  • Discuss ways walking advocates should be engaging with topics related to this work.
About the Panel

Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at West Chester University of PA. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching, conducting research, writing, and doing community work promoting health well-being in adulthood. She conducts research and writes a blog for Psychology Today on exercise, loneliness, isolation, social engagement, and longevity. Jasmin also coordinates WCU’s program in the World Health Organization Global Consortium of Age Friendly Cities and Community and AARP’s Livable Cities for all People. She has written several books and many articles on factors promoting physical and social activity, combating loneliness and isolation, and other factors influencing the health and well-being of adults of all backgrounds. Her books include Ageing, Physical Activity, and Health (International Perspectives); Stress Management and Longevity and The Social Geography of Aging.

Suzanne Nienaber, AICP, is the Partnerships Director at the Center for Active Design. With expertise in urban planning and facilitation, Suzanne has orchestrated over 200 presentations and participatory workshops to encourage designers, planners, and developers to transform the built environment to support healthy, engaged communities. She also leads Assembly, CfAD’s pioneering initiative exploring how community design impacts measures of civic life—includingtrust, participation in public life, stewardship, and voting. The Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines(2018) integrates input from 200+ studies, 50+ cities, and dozens of expert advisors to generate aplaybook for creating well-designed and well-maintained public spaces as a force for building trust and healing divisions in local communities.Previously, Suzanne worked for New York City’s inter-agency Active Design team, where she developed and implemented training programs to familiarize professionals with NYC’s award-winning Active Design Guidelines(2010).

Suzanne holds a Master of Urban Planning from New York University and has over a decade of experience working in the field. She is an AICP-designated planner, and is also certified by the National Charrette Institute. Previously, Suzanne was a Senior Planner at the firm of ACP Visioning+Planning, where she managed a variety of projects including multi-jurisdictional visioning initiatives, master plans, and neighborhood-scale urban design plans. Prior to her planning career, she worked in the field of international public health, supporting nutrition and training programs at Helen Keller International.

Dr. Shannon Rogers serves as the State Specialist of Nature Based Economic Development on the Community and Economic Development Team at the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension. Trained as an ecological economist, she focuses on how people use and value the environment and natural resources. As such, she is currently leading several applied research projects on topics such as how communities can connect downtowns with natural assets to create vibrant economies and an effort to better understand the value and cost of New Hampshire’s water resources. New programming and technical assistance for communities will result from this research. Dr. Rogers is also an Associate Extension Professor and is affiliated with the Natural Resources & Earth Systems Science Doctoral Program at UNH.

Rogers has experience working in the private sector at Industrial Economics, Inc., an environmental economic consulting firm in Cambridge, MA. She has also held positions in government and non-profit sectors and most recently has worked in academia as an Assistant Professor at Plymouth State University. Rogers maintains affiliated faculty positions at Plymouth State and Dartmouth College and is a Senior Fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College, a Masters degree in Resource Administration and Management from UNH and a doctorate degree in Natural Resources & Environmental Studies with a minor in College Teaching from UNH.