Robert Slattery is a writer living in Western North Carolina. He enjoys music and all sorts of other things.
Opinion – Over at Mother Nature News, blogger Chris Turner has laid out why he thinks walking – you know, walking – can be looked upon as a form of activism. He sets out a few ways in which our modern world challenges the definitive form of transportation, and how choosing to challenge these things can be seen as a challenge to larger trends.
The first example Turner uses is the impassable landscape, those things “where simply walking feels like a fundamental transgression on the landscape.” An example he gives is the area surrounding an airport.
Areas where one cannot walk due to design or legality have earned challengers in a number of campaigns that seek “pedestrian advocacy.”
The second point Turner brings up is the social practice of walking. He points to some examples of cultural walking, such as “dvizhenie” a Bulgarian tradition of wearing one’s “finest clothes and simply [strolling] the streets en masse.”
He uses this example as possible way to ground the pedestrian movement in the modern age.
Finally, he points to how the chain-link fence represents a change from a walkable area to a non-walkable, “car-centered” area. It represents a closing-off, and its cheap, ugly construction offers a deterrent even if the likely presence of traffic doesn’t.
As an alternative, he offers the idea of attractive, custom made chain-link, or maybe just pulling the stuff up and opening up the world a little more.
It’s somewhat strange to think of walking as transgressive, but I’m beginning to see it. Hell, if someone sees walking somewhere as “weird” there’s got to be something unusual floating about in our collective minds.
Turner’s thoughts are encouraging — we could all use a little more exercise, but more than that, we could use a world that’s a little more free and open.
Be sure to read the full article at Mother Nature Network.