Day 89: Walk This Way

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March 29, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

One thing I always marvel at when I head home is the lack of people to be seen.  It’s remarkable because despite having a relatively high population, you could walk through some suburbs not knowing that there was anyone around for miles.  Nobody’s outside.  People go from their garages to their cars to their local grocery stores where they spend only what time it takes them to navigate from their parking space to the entrance in the sunshine.  Sidewalks are less crowded by far than even side streets, and foot traffic won’t hold you up nearly as long as highway interchanges will.  So why walk?  Because it’s good and good for you.  Spending time outside is something we need to re-embrace as a species.  It’s something we spent millennia doing, and while we were so proud of ourselves for our ability to exist without setting foot on grass or under the sun, I contend that the indoors are not our friends, and I’m not alone in that.  There’s a growing mountain of evidence to support the notion that walking around might actually be good for you; it may actually be doing things for you that an hour on a treadmill in a climate-controlled, fluorescently-lit, surround-sound-infused gym cannot.  Today’s project is taking to the streets in hopes of bringing people one step closer to walking their way across town.

Walk [Your City] is a public information installment, curated by city-dwellers who know their way around by foot.  The project aims to make foot traffic a more inviting endeavor by placing signs with directions and travel-by-foot times to a destination.

It is our belief that everyone should have the choice to be a pedestrian in their community. Walking is not scary, but in some cities and places it can seem that way. Beyond the obvious personal health benefits, with more and more pedestrians on the street, the healthier our places become socially, economically and environmentally.

The creators, a group called CityFabric, proved the pedestrian power of these unsanctioned waypoints in Raleigh, North Carolina, but are now looking to spread out and asking for your help to get your neighbors on their feet and moving.  “It’s a 6 minute walk to the library” might be just enough encouragement to compel someone to leave their car parked just where it is and hoof it for an extra two blocks.  There’s no telling what they might discover along the way, but they won’t walk away empty-handed.  This project aims to help people get to know their cities better, by foot, and maybe to develop an appreciation for keeping their town walkable.  Check out the project’s bigger plans and see how you can take steps to get involved in getting your city onto the sidewalks by backing Walk [Your City] on Kickstarter before April 29


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