One artist that I didn’t point out in Why People Walk: Art is Simon Pope. A friend recently gave me a copy of his book London Walking: A Handbook for Survival, which is far from a typical guidebook to sightseeing in London. While there are details specific to the city, the book contains all sorts of thoughts and ideas about walking in general. Here are just a few of the section titles: improvised navigation, lichen and fungi, roadside barriers and fencing, consumer geomancy, fractal lawns, street games, walking the underpasses, calorific values of specific cakes and pastries, warning to hat wearers, and spiral stair techniques. The book is UK-published, but available in the U.S. Highly recommended!
Speaking of books, I’ve mentioned Berkeley Rocks a couple of times here, and it got a mention in the Chronicle this week. This quote, of course, drew me in:
Suddenly, you get it. This is how that North Berkeley neighborhood was meant to be explored — not in a car, but slowly, with awareness, on foot.
Recently I’ve seen a couple of mentions of the website Walk Score, a Google Maps mashup that allows you to enter an address find out how “walkable” a neighborhood is. This application specifically focuses on proximity to stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc. My address got a score of 75 out of 100, which surprised me because I can easily walk to everything I need within a mile. I tried some other addresses, and the highest score I got for Berkeley was the Elmwood neighborhood, at 95. An address in the area discussed in the Chronicle article above received a 40. As the website mentions, there are a number of factors that cannot be taken into account (such as transit, safety, and street trees), but this is still a fun application to play around with and as a reminder of what’s in your neighborhood that is walking distance.