Going for a walk

Last updated: 4 Nov 2020

Part of a series of posts on my participation in the Walk Exchange’s Walk Studies Training Course – see justification.

Download Going for a walk. Wearing headphones, walk for 30 minutes as the audio-recording plays – either pre-plan the walk or just improvise. Take note of the environment through which you are walking and be aware of/alert to risks.

Scene 6 of Going for a walk centres on sharing space, with lots of Brits saying “excuse me!” and “sorry!”. Shared space is based on courtesy, but can be perilous when the most vulnerable is not the most numerous. But how do you share space when one group is front and centre?

Paths are not roads. What are the rules? Do we share the same code? Do you alert those ahead if you want to pass? Thank them if they give way? At least make eye contact? Who is the Entitlement King of the Road?

Ms Contrary listened to the audio in situ – no headphones on the street, please. Too many disconnects already! Some obstacles me and my two canine metaphors encountered on a short heat-constrained stroll:

  • tempting discarded food to grab – spare ribs are the biggest hazard
  • asymmetric barriers to get tangled up in
  • large dogs to stress over – we go round the other way
  • a footbridge composed of a grid designed to track beagle nails
  • how fast is that bike coming – can we jaywalk across in time?

Walking pace, the speed of the soul, makes you more observant. The city moves at the speed of walking. The Great Dane: “Man was made to walk…all our senses are made for being a walking animal – for that speed, for that horizontal perception.”

We need security and respect for people who walk. Specifically ensuring that drivers and cyclists respect a walker’s right of way. Keep cyclists off the sidewalks. [insert city du jour] has no walking culture, and does absolutely nothing for people, old or young, who choose not to drive or bike. (source)

Walkability for all!

Walking Connections' findings

Walking Connections’ findings

More exercises:

  • choose a destination along a route that’s familiar, or perhaps even routine for you – walk along that route, observing all the times you take paths or shortcuts that might not be easily traversable if you were travelling with a disabled companion – after you reach your destination walk back along your route, this time choosing only the paths that would be accessible, observing if and how that changes your route and your experience – > desire paths
  • choose a familiar route to a familiar destination with an unfamiliar companion, one who has grown up in an entirely different environment to you, be it physical, psychological, cultural, spatial – see what emerges in your conversation – record it or not – make the return journey alone and note the differences

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