One-on-One with Thomas Rigler, Director & Executive Producer of the KCET-TV series “City Walk”

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  1. In this month’s One-on-One blog, ExpertFlyer talks with Thomas Rigler, an award-winning filmmaker, transmedia producer and former TV development executive. Thomas’s diverse body of work at Rigler Creative includes creating and executive producing the KCET-TV / LinkTV series “City Walk,” a unique 8-part series that reveals the way walking is transforming cities across America and, in the process, re-connecting us to our bodies, our civic values and public space.

    As the show explores the walkability of these communities, viewers learn about American history by exploring culturally rich neighborhoods, stunning architecture, monuments and beautiful parks that have helped define the character of each city.

    [​IMG]“Viewers have had a really positive reaction to our showcasing of some remarkably innovative urban parks,” explains Rigler. The High Line in New York City and the BeltLine in Atlanta are perfect examples of how urban designers are breaking new ground to make the outdoors more available to you and me.”

    – Thomas Rigler, executive producer, “City Walk”

    Tell us how this series came about and why it’s important to you?

    This series came about because, having lived in Los Angeles for the past 20 years, I’ve noticed how much Angelenos are perceived as a car-dependent society. In doing this show, we were able to show that there are actually lots of people who love to walk in LA and are actively trying to make it a more pedestrian-friendly society. Coming from Europe, most cities are designed to be pedestrian-centric, but newer cities like LA were designed for the automobile, and City Walk allows us to delve into how we can change that.

    The series has focused on six great walkable cities: Los Angeles, Portland, Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York. Why did you focus on these particular cities?

    We focused on these cities because they all had a different story to tell: LA is known as a big freeway, Portland is famous for its bridges, Atlanta transformed its railway lines into parks, DC was built on a swamp, and New York is famous for its traffic. Each of these cities allowed us to examine walking in a different light.

    [​IMG]From a traveler’s perspective, what should folks know about these walkable towns that they may not have considered before? Anything surprising?

    The thing that’s most surprising for travelers is how much more you’ll see by walking. You simply can’t take in the feel of a city from inside a car.

    Assuming the series will continue, what’s next? Will we see more walkable cities in the U.S. or international destinations, such as Europe or South America?

    We plan on filming more US cities like Chicago, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans and Arizona.

    What have viewers reacted most positively to?

    Viewers have had a really positive reaction to our profiles of some of the more unique urban parks that are being created; the High Line in New York City, the BeltLine in Atlanta – these unique examples are showing people that there are designers out there, breaking new ground to make the outdoors more available to you and I.

    How should travelers incorporate more fitness/adventure walking into their vacations?

    All it takes is a little planning – go online or read a guide before you arrive and plan out a route that can take you through a neighborhood. You’ll see so much more, and get to interact with so many more aspects of your surroundings.

    What’s your favorite walkable city and why?

    My favorite walkable city is Manhattan. It’s designed to be not only pedestrian-friendly, but cars are even seen as a hassle you need to push aside and climb over if need be. Just think about how expensive and difficult it is to find parking in Manhattan and how much easier and faster it is to walk and take the subway!

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