Why People Walk, Part 2: Psychogeography

While researching other walking projects, I have seen quite a few have been definited as psychogeography. What exactly is psychogeography? According to the Toronto Psychogeography Society,

The word psychogeography was coined by the Situationist Guy Debord. It describes the specific effects of the geographical environment on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.

So what does it mean to take a psychogeographic walk and how exactly does it differ from just taking a “regular” walk? The Toronto Psychogeography Society offers some clues in the descriptions of some its past outings. It appears that (unlike the my walks for this project!) a psychogeographic walk does not generally have a planned route, that the walkers might follow something that interests them: a sight, a smell, a sound. From further research, I found that there is also algorithmic or generative psychogeography, which follows a repeating pattern, such as “go two blocks and turn right, go two blocks and turn left, go one block and turn right, and then repeat.” I also saw variations on these ideas, such a walk pattern that was written as a pseudo computer program, Then I found Conflux, a NYC “festival for contemporary psychogeography,” which seems much broader than the traditional definitions of psychogeography and appears to include more of the types of projects that I mentioned in my previous Why People Walk post.

I ran across a few psychogeography events in the Bay Area, but nothing so far that seems to be active. Eventually (once I am finished with my current walk) I would like to do a psychogeography walk in Berkeley. Please post a comment if you happen to know of anyone who is already this or if you might be interested in joining in on such a walk.


  1. Georgia said

    I have read a little bit about psychogeography. I would accompany you and others on such a walk.

  2. Valerie said

    This sounds like what happens when I look up a word in the dictionary and come up for air hours later.

  3. […] you are interested in further scholarly reading related to psychogeography, check out the Bureau of Public Secrets‘ situationist writings. Ken Knabb has translated a […]

  4. […] 17, 2007 at 10:29 am · Filed under Walking Philosophy More in this series: Art, Psychogeography, […]

  5. […] out the book. If you’re new to reading this blog and/or psychogeography, here’s my post about psychogeography from earlier this […]

  6. […] the psychogeography of the suburbs is best done on foot. We really don’t have time to notice much when speeding […]

  7. […] Bay starting on March 21 and continuing through the night (for related information, see my post on psychogeography and Theory of the Dérive on Berkeley writer and theorist Ken Knabb’s […]

  8. […] definition: https://walkingberkeley.wordpress.com/2007/01/23/why-people-walk-part-2-psychogeography/, retrieved 23 March 2009 Footnotes 1. The word psychogeography was coined by the Situationist Guy […]

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