Walking. Ambling. Strolling. Sauntering. Moseying. Loping. Those are among the more appealing ways to walk for me. I was a critic the other day at the Conway School’s final presentations. All of the presentations had something to do with “circulation or walkability.” In design school, walkability was a hallmark of a “sustainable” city or development. What is walking anyway these days? All of us walk. Some with ear buds, some while texting, some while eating, some arm and arm. What about surfaces? There are cobblestones, bricks, planks, rubberized tracks, those freaky moving sidewalk things at airports, I am not sure that the overarching concept of walkability takes these into account though. Perhaps planners, designers and policy makers are to the point where they think that any walking would be success – getting people out of their cars, away from the computer (yes, I realize the irony of my writing and posting this on the computer….) and into the world.
I love walking. Some of my favorite books are about walking, The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin and Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit give beautiful histories and descriptions of walking and how people have moved across this earth. Keeping those examples in mind along with the power and immediacy of direct experience, I have been experimenting with path making here since we arrived 5 years ago. The following are some of my path attempts…..