The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 7

overheard conversations passing by on a gravel path, or stressful, as the hurried click
of stiletto heels on a marble floor.
In addition to the five traditional senses, there are also the effects of navigation,
balance (proprioception), speed (vestibular system), anticipation and decision making.
This would present us with an impossible amount of environmental information, if it
weren't for the fact that walking is as natural to us as breathing.

Takeshita-dori, Tokyo.
PHOTO: THE AUTHOR

URBAN WALKING

Before the mid-19th century, the idea of walking about in a city for the sheer pleasure of it wouldn't have occurred to most people, if it had been possible at all. In the
1860s, the poet Charles Baudelaire introduced the French public to the flâneur, a
"gentleman stroller of city streets," and "artist-poet of the modern metropolis." This
romantic persona, as fact or fiction, introduced the recreational possibilities of city
streets - something which, today, we take completely for granted.
In fact, one of the hallmarks of a "livable city" today is "walkability." How easy, safe
and enjoyable is it for people to negotiate the city on foot? In the words of ArchDaily
Assistant Editor Niall Patrick Walsh, "I always find that my experience of a city is
entwined with the people I meet, see, or even hear. So the fundamental characteristic
is perhaps a city that is walkable, or negotiable without using a car, to maximize daily
interactions."4
According to the findings of the National Walking Summit held in St. Paul last
September, there is a social component to walkable cities, as well:
Safe, convenient and comfortable places to walk are fundamental to the
forgotten one-third of Americans who don't drive - the young, the old, the
disabled and those too poor to buy a car. These people live under a form of
house arrest in many U.S. communities, unable to do much of anything....5
At the urban scale, walking represents simultaneous acts of independence and
cooperation. Within certain limits, we are free to go wherever we want to, but the
urban environment is shared among all of us. In cities such as Venice, this duality
becomes especially apparent. If you are one of the millions of foreign tourists who visit
the city annually, you are constantly aware that you are enjoying a delicate environment that generations of Venetians have built and maintained. Yet you are completely
free to wander the maze of streets and alleys, to lose your way and to find it again.
Architectural historian Bernard Rudofsky6, commenting on this phenomenon, cites
the town of Martina Franca, in Apulia: "Labyrinthine towns hold a singular fascination
for people whose flow of imagination has not dried up by living on streets that run for
miles in a straight line."
As Rudofsky points out, straight lines are rarely the raw materials of fascination
and imagination. Tara Quinn, writing in the literary journal Brick refers to "walking,
being, and noticing."7 Metaphorically, walking and living are closely bound together:
The Right Angle | Summer 2018 | 7



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018

Message from the Board
Walking
Integrated Building Design... and More
Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
Index of Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Walking
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Integrated Building Design... and More
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
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