Presentation at the Walking Summit: Then and Now, Washington, DC – Our Cities are Changing

“Just Walk, everyone!” Photo by Rosemary Agostini, MD (View on

I feel like I’ve been giving a lot of presentations lately, on semi-related topics…

This one was given to the 350+ participants at the 2013 Walking Summit in Washington, DC. I was asked to start the walking meeting of said participants, who were in a hotel basement where the meeting was held.

I used images that I’ve taken with my camera as well as images taken by photographer Michael Horsley in the 1980’s and 1990’s that show a devastated Washington, DC, without walkability, livability, without hope.  

Michael’s images are copyrighted; he very kindly allowed me to use some of them in my presentation, to be respectful though, in the slides below, I’ve replaced the photographs with a link to the photos on Flickr. They are worth a look – up to you.

The three and a half things I wanted the audience to experience with me were

  • Walking meetings (in my experience) exhibit a contagion phenomenon – easy to spread via social media, easy for people to grasp them once they do them
  • Walking meetings usually create learning beyond the topic of the meeting. Who knew, when I diverted people from the gas guzzling shuttle bus in 2011 (and did again during the summit) that we would learn about the impact, one year later, of the largest oil spill in history?
  • Our cities are changing (see the photos) – as much as we bemoan our state of physical activity, there are lot of people outside of the medical profession making a difference
  • Finally, we have to change our mental models.
  • From: A meeting happens when you go to a room and sit down
  • To: A meeting happens the second you start moving – there’s nowhere to “go” just have to “be”
  • From: Designing meeting places in the basements or top floors of buildings
  • To: Designing meeting places at ground level with quick access to movement ( just like the Center for Total Health – @kptotalhealth )

And yes, we are from the future, and so are you. Start walking!


Links to “Then” photos

Ted Eytan, MD