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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
Via a presentation and a feet-on workshop experience, participants will learn about Barefoot Paths, a recreational experience that can fit any budget and has become popular in Europe. We will explore the many different types of Barefoot Paths and their potential, which can range from short garden-like installations that enhance the experience of a surrounding feature to educational experiences for school groups, families, and individuals and kilometre-long adventure trails with the potential of drawing tourism. Even mobile variances are possible as those participating in the workshop part of the presentation will learn. Barefoot Paths are by nature highly adaptable and can be aligned with features providing sensory or cognitive experiences and agility challenges.
Successful projects of all types will be examined with a particular focus on an adventure trail in Spalt, Germany, which has become a major tourist attraction. While there are societal challenges, such as vandalism and dog poop, there is an enormous list of benefits. Besides the obvious values of time spent outdoors and physical activity, Barefoot Paths address other benefits that are otherwise underrepresented in current-day designs for trails and playscapes, such as the importance of family interaction. Barefoot walking also benefits the environment by fostering mindful movement through natural spaces and developing a focus for the little nuances in the space we’re moving through. The workshop following the presentation provides participants with an opportunity to take off their shoes and experience a pop-up barefoot trail for themselves.