Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Walking observation.

A research activity conducted within central tunnel during afternoon peak hour provided interesting findings. Approximately ninety percent of pedestrians were walking in the same direction as I was, towards the trains and away from the city. As commuters, at the end of a working day, many of the people appeared to walk almost mindlessly down the tunnel following the brisk flow of traffic. This reduced their engagement and made me question how it would be possible to engage walkers with the urban landscape. Walking in the tunnel myself, inhaling the hot unventilated air, feeling the slippery tiles underfoot, I understood with a sense of anxiety, the need to make it out of the tunnel as quickly as possible.

I considered if the small trickle of traffic going the other way would be equally disengaged, so I walked against the direction they travelled to observe their reactions. It wasn’t as off-putting for them as I expected. I had to avoid collision with at least three women who didn’t look up once from their mobile phones or newspapers. The walking commuters were offered a small amount of space, and could safely assume that if they walked within that space, disengaged from their surroundings, they would still make it from a to b. What would happen though if an obstacle were to disrupt the path of one of these walkers? Would the affect be the same for a parkour athlete?

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