City of Guelph gets grant to visit Copenhagen to research healthy urban public spaces and equitable mobility

Guelph is one of four Canadian municipalities making the trip thanks to funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Guelph, Ont., September 21, 2023 – A joint proposal by the City of Guelph, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health was successful in securing funding the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Healthy Cities Research Initiative to learn how we can put healthy urban policy into action.

“People in our community regularly point to European transportation models when telling us what they want to see in Guelph,” says Jennifer Juste, Manager of Transportation Planning for the City of Guelph. “We know Copenhagen, Denmark is doing amazing things and is a leader in designing for active transportation and public space. I’m excited to learn from experts and figure out how we can use their ideas and best practices to make it easier for people to get around Guelph.”

The five-day workshop, hosted by 8 80 Cities in Copenhagen from September 23-28, is a unique exploration of a place that has positioned itself as a world leader in healthy, active transportation and people-centric public space. City staff will get a first-hand look at Copenhagen’s success with active transportation best practices in hopes of building these practices into the design of public spaces that meet the needs of Guelph’s diverse community.

The research lead for Guelph’s delegation is Dr. Linda Rothman, Assistant Professor at the Toronto Metropolitan University. Dr. Rothman is a researcher on the CapaCITY/É research team who investigates how to bring sustainable transportation to life in Guelph and other cities. “It’s important not only to bring back European ideas and messages, but also to ensure these learnings work in a Canadian environment,” explains Dr. Rothman. “Evaluation of the action plan in Guelph will be done to support future initiatives of promoting safe, sustainable and equitable active transportation in our city.”

In addition to Juste and Dr. Rothman, the Guelph delegates attending the workshop are:

  • Mayor Cam Guthrie, City of Guelph
  • Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
  • Kyle Wilson, Director, Information Systems and Chief Privacy Officer, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

“This is an exciting opportunity to learn and collaborate at both a local and international level,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I’m looking forward to working alongside Toronto Metropolitan University and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to bring world-class knowledge back to guide our development of safe, equitable, inclusive streets and land use planning for people in Guelph today and into our future.”

The Guelph delegates will round out the workshop with collaborative knowledge sharing and an action plan to bring the lessons from Copenhagen back home. Knowledge gathered from the workshop will support collaboration between City leaders, researchers, and public health to improve how local transportation systems are designed to create healthy urban spaces that promote safe and equitable mobility for everyone.

“We look forward to sharing what we learn with the community when we return, and to having conversations about how we can build more equitable transportation systems in Guelph,” adds Juste.

Media contact

Jennifer Juste, Manager, Transportation Planning
Engineering and Transportation Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2791
[email protected]