Month: September 2013 (page 1 of 1)

Walk 21 Munich – powerful discussions on walkability

“How to make cities better places for pedestrians?” – most of the discussions centered on this question. There was research on pedestrian safety, ideas for campaigns to promote walking and manuals of how to improve conditions for walkers. Prof. Merk presented designs for the inner city that will make Munich a better place to walk. Prof. Thanos Vlastos pointed out, that walking is the way to incorporate with the social life and to participate. Many other experts from different backgrounds presented data and ideas for walkers.

My feeling is that everybody tries very hard to make plans, to draw up agendas and to implement goals in strategic planning and decision making processes. Fair enough – all very important points. But why do only few of these passionate lobbyists use walking as a method to perceive and change the world? Every walker knows the “wonder” of walking: While moving and connecting views, perspectives, feelings and places, he or she gets new perspectives, sees things from different angles or in a different light. The scenery becomes a spectacle in which the permanently moving walker plays a role. Especially on longer walks phases of flow helps us to open up for new ideas. And who does not like a good talk on a long walk?

Walking is an act of movement, perception and creativity and deeply rooted in our history. Now we fight for better walking environments but we forget to experiment with walking again and to let the creative potential unfold. Walking together is the best way to exchange perceptions and to discuss ideas for the future of our cities.

One of the presenters I listen to demonstrated the power of walking with people. Dimitra Kanellopoulou walks with people, talks with them, draws maps and invents stories. A very inspiriting research!

Walk 21 Munich – Where are the landscape designers?

A conference on walking! I expected hundreds of landscape architects attending the workshops and presenting ideas for open space designs and cooperative planning processes using walking as method to perceive and change the urban Geschehen.
Where were you? Don´t leave this large field of action and research to traffic planners and urban sociologists!
Walk21 Munich

Rules for designing while walking

When experimenting with walking as a method of design, I tested different rules. Though they need to be designed for every situation specifically, the following rules will be helpful for those who want to start practising.
:: Walk minimum a day. The journey is supposed to be strenuous.
:: Once you studied the map, try to avoid sticking to it. Use a compass to navigate the landscape. Choose a direction rather than “the right path”.
:: Experiment with following beaten tracks and with crossing the terrain by walking a straight line.
:: Walk alone. Start a conversation with people you encounter on your way.
:: Try to wander around and to become part of the landscape. Observe the place with all its scents, flavours, views, textures. If you find something that triggers your attention, examine it and take it with you for a while, if possible.
:: Take a maximum of ten photographs. Draw and write only the most important things that come to your mind.
:: Breathe calmly through your nose and try to find a rhythm that suits you.
:: There is no pressure at all. Open up for the landscape. Play walking!