Monday, 22 August 2011

Walking in the City – Observation #1

My initial observations were based around the idea of becoming a part of the walking city – being involved in the experience with a heightened awareness of my actions, rather than watching on from afar. I started my walk by following one particular stressed out looking pedestrian who seemed to be in quite a hurry to get nowhere in particular. This journey of keeping up with my newfound walking buddy led me on a weaving path through all sorts of pedestrians including tourists, business men and women on their lunch breaks, students, homeless people, pesky charity workers and those just wandering through the city. There was one pedestrian which caught my attention in particular – a young adult male, possibly a student, dressed in casual clothes and wearing a backpack. He was walking at an average speed – faster than a tourist taking in the sites but slower than a peak hour worker rushing to get home. What this particular pedestrian showed me was that people walking in the city without that much concern for time or a destination who appeared to be merely enjoying the walk, did not really fit into the city environment. The pedestrian tended to wander around the footpath, swerving from left to right, looking up at buildings and at shop windows and appeared to be taking in their surroundings more so than others. In the meantime, the people around the ‘wanderer’ were looking annoyed, trying to speed through the maze of people, looking at the space on the ground rather than the path in front of them, or using their mobile phones while still managing to somehow make their way through the crowd.

My observations from this initial walk of the behaviour of different types of pedestrians in the city and how this reflects on their experience of walking in the city would be an interesting area to explore. This could lead to the development of a concept for a wearable that will allow each type of pedestrian to be able to experience the city in a richer and more sensorial way than what they would when they are rushing to reach a their destination or deadline.

As for the initial fast-walker, we ended up at Coles.

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