SOURCE: City of San Jose, California

July 07, 2008 20:55 ET

Walkable Communities Director Dan Burden and Webcor Builders CEO Andy Ball to Discuss "Great Ideas for Livable Communities"

July Edition of Great Cities Speakers Series to Examine Best Elements of Livable Communities for Today and Tomorrow

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - July 7, 2008) - Dan Burden, Director, Walkable Communities will be featured at the 2008 Great Cities Speakers Series, 6-7 p.m., Monday, July 14, at the San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo De San Antonio. This presentation is free to the public. However due to capacity limitations, reservations are strongly recommended and may be made by email to

Burden's talk, entitled, "Great Ideas for Building Livable Communities," will discuss some of the best elements of livable communities being developed today including examples of strategies to change how residents interact with their built environments. Burden will also incorporate an overview of his observations from a "walking audit" of downtown San Jose and prior experience consulting on varied projects in the Silicon Valley region.

Taking part in the discussion is Andy Ball, President/CEO of Webcor Builders. Webcor is the largest general contractor in California and has established a position as a leading builder of large-scale, high-profile projects, including facilities for Oracle, eBay, Lucasfilm, and the California Academy of Sciences. Ball, an avid cyclist, is committed to building strong, sustainable communities.

Burden is a nationally recognized authority on bicycle and pedestrian oriented facilities and programs, street corridor and intersection design, traffic flow and calming, and other design and planning elements that affect roadway environments. He has 25 years of experience in developing, promoting and evaluating alternative transportation facilities, traffic calming practices and sustainable community design. He served for 16 years as Florida DOT's State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, and he presently works as executive director of Walkable Communities, Inc., a non-profit corporation helping North America develop walkable communities. Burden's vision is to assist business and community leaders in their quest to create streets, activity centers, business districts and neighborhoods for people. He brings a message about creating community for people, not just cars. Burden holds a bachelor of science in recreation management and planning from University of Montana.

"Walking remains the cheapest form of transport for all people, and the construction of a walkable community provides the most affordable transportation system any community can plan, design, construct and maintain," said Burden. "Walkable communities put urban environments back on a scale for sustainability of resources -- both natural and economic -- and lead to more social interaction, physical fitness and diminished crime and other social problems," said Burden.

Ball added, "When you combine environmentally responsible buildings with communities that are designed for pedestrians and cyclists you will create healthier and more enjoyable communities. Traditional car-oriented planning creates wide streets that become barriers to walking and cycling, and also prevents community interaction. Whether it's to run a short errand or to go a longer distance in conjunction with mass transit, walking and cycling can be safe and surprisingly easy alternatives to driving a car."

Produced by the San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs, 1stACT Silicon Valley and the Commonwealth Club of California, the Great Cities Speakers Series engages residents, and business and civic leaders as well as those who will be directly impacted by the evolution of the Envision San Jose General Plan 2040 -- the key planning document that will guide San Jose's growth, character, and service ambitions over the next 10-30 years. This series of monthly public lectures is designed to provoke thought, discussion and imagination about the city of the future and to bring important outside perspectives to local and regional efforts on civic planning, culture, art and design. The lectures are free.

The Great Cities Speakers Series is also supported by the American Institute of Architects-Santa Clara Valley Chapter, the American Planning Association (APA) California Chapter - Northern Section, the Fairmont Hotel San Jose, the San Jose Repertory Theater and the San Jose State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning.


The Office of Cultural Affairs is part of the City's Office of Economic Development. Together, they foster cultural and economic development as related strategies for building San Jose as the creative center of Silicon Valley. The Office of Cultural Affairs coordinates services for outdoor events and festivals, offers financial support for arts and culture providers, supports arts education, and leads the development of public art works throughout the city. For more information, please visit


From its founding in 1777 as California's first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley -- the world's leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, work, live, play and learn. For more information, visit,


1stACT Silicon Valley is a broad network of regional civic, cultural, and business leaders working to catalyze participation and investment at the intersection of art, creativity, and technology. 1stACT strives to create an authentic sense of place in Silicon Valley that fuels community pride, broad participation, and philanthropic investment. Please visit,


The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum, bringing together its more than 18,000 members for over 400 annual events on topics ranging across politics, culture, society and the economy. The Club has offices in San Francisco and San Jose, with regular events in both cities, as well as programs in the East and North Bay. Please visit,

Contact Information

  • Contact
    Steven Brewster
    (415) 577-8851 mobile
    (408) 535-8168 land
    San Jose Office of Economic Development
    Email Contact

    Brendan Rawson
    1stACT Silicon Valley
    (408) 200-2020 ext. 105
    Email Contact