…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
It’s been over a year since my last post. There hasn’t been much to report on the Pedestrian City front – apart from a very humbling Pecha Kucha experience back in September. Walk This Town: Perspectives on Designing a Healthy City was hosted at the Seattle Public Library as part of the 2013 Seattle Design Festival. I was both honoured and excited when I was asked to present, and only wish it had gone smoother.
As prepared as I was, I got up in front of a room of strangers to find out there had been a glitch uploading my presentation to the computer being used for the evening. I stuttered, I apologized, I fumbled to present my information and ideas without the accompanying visuals, which are key when doing a presentation on memory mapping.
Following that, I decided it was time to walk away for a little while and rethink what I wanted to do with Pedestrian City. I haven’t come to a decision yet. No fresh inspiration has come my way. So for now, I’m happy to let it serve as an archive of memory mapping workshops, and the initial neighbourhood study. As well as a resource for others who are interested in themes of public space, active transportation, and psychogeography. There’s a list of links and a reading list – predominantly of books that inspired the creation of Pedestrian City, with the occasional new addition.
Will I ever organize and lead another memory mapping workshop? Not likely. While I love the idea of engaging people in this capacity, I’ve learned that I don’t particularly enjoy leading the public engagement side of things myself. I enjoy the theory of the practice much more than the practice itself.
I recently came across this post from the old Pedestrian City site. Written in December 2008, the goal at the time was to create a space for people to share personal memory maps from Toronto, New York, and cities in between…
Walking: stories, memories, reflections
I recently read a brief report about the promotion of cycling in Malmö,Sweden, for which the city organized an advertising campaign. Part of the campaign involved a competition asking citizens to submit ideas that could help increase the number of bike users; resulting in the production of a book that engaged local celebrities to share their cycling stories as a source of inspiration to residents.
The book contains a diverse mix of biking experiences, thoughts, stories, secrets, memories, commissioned essays and reflections; including a “rock star’s personal tour of the city, nostalgic biking memories, how biking satisfies a comedian’s need for speed and how cycling helped a local writer to become famous”.
Now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Pedestrian City, right?
I’m hoping this will give you some ideas. I know some of you are having trouble getting started because you can’t decide on a place to focus on for the project. Instead of thinking of a place to explore first, try thinking of a story or memory and work from there.
Start with a walking story, memory or reflection, answer the questions outlined in Task #1 (a few posts down), draw your map and wait for a day suitable for a winter walk with a camera.
Another approach could be to use this as a visioning exercise, to share any ideas you might have to improve your neighbourhood of choice, no matter how idealistic they might seem!