About this presentation – Creating Liveable Communities

Dan Burden presents the case for creating communities that are centered on people and not cars. He identifies the benefits to the community in terms of both vitality and economic well-being. As a leading expert in his field of creating livable communities he talks about the processes he uses and the results of his many projects.

About Dan Burden


Dan Burden is an internationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs, livability, sustainability and Smart Growth. He brings together many disciplines and issues – street design, traffic calming, living streets, public safety, bicycling, and greenways – into a holistic vision for creating healthy, livable, sustainable and prosperous communities. Dan is a master facilitator that connects with his audience. The more controversial a topic the more people turn to Dan to address change, provide the latest ideas and best practices. Cities of the future will require more complexity, more attention to detail, more collaboration, and Dan helps deliver that.

Dan is now in his middle sixties, and he has worked in over 2700 North American villages, towns and cities. Dan realized when he was 35 that good communities were all about learning to embrace change. He recognized that he lacked the facilitation skills needed to create change. To do develop these skills he returned to school and studied interpersonal communications. He has been perfecting this influencing skills ever since. It is not Dan’s academic background in the town making sciences, but more his ability to interact successfully with others that caused Time Magazine in 2001 to list Dan as “One of the Six Most Important Civic Innovators in the World. ” Dan has become a world spokesperson for walkability and mobility. In 2001, the Transportation Research Board (National Academy of Sciences) selected Dan to be their Distinguished Lecturer, on rebuilding transportation around walkability.

Burden has spent the last thirty-eight years developing, promoting, and evaluating active, equitable and balanced transportation systems and sustainable communities at national, regional, state, and local levels. Towards the end of his 16 year career inside the Florida DOT (State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator) Dan came to realize that people would not and could not walk or bicycle, or even use transit, until we got the bigger picture. Patterns of land use that resulted in isolation and sprawl were removing walking and bicycling faster than all of Dan’s work to build sidewalks, crossings and trails. He felt frustrated watching this loss. So in 1996, with his wife Lys, he co-founded Walkable Communities, Inc. This organization provides ongoing services and support; helping define how cities should grow if people are to have choices in transportation, to become sustainable and to have healthy economies.

In 2005, Dan felt he needed to further broaden his network and round out his city making skills. Dan joined three of his mentors at Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin. Dan learned much about the consulting world, and business in general. It was here that he learned to address more of the complexities of urban design.

On December 10, 2009, Dan realized that it was time to move on to what he now calls his swansong, or his last hurrah, or his end game in life. Dan left Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin but agreed to stay in close touch with his many mentors and associates. He formed the non-profit, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Inc. This organization began operations on December 11, 2009.

The origins of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute go back to 1981 when Dan was leading a series of walks for Australia in 1981. He realized that all of Australia’s villages, towns, and cities were intact — they were the America that he had grown up in, but could no longer find. They had cars in abundance, but they did not build their cities around cars. He came back to the U.S., changed his job title from the State of Florida “Bicycle Coordinator” to the “State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator” (a first for the USA). No one stopped him and now looking back the creation of the Institute was a natural path.