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Urban walking experience, understood as relationships between the pedestrian's inner world, the city they experience and their physical movement of walking

Calvert, Thomas; Jain, Juliet; Chatterjee, Kiron

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Authors

Thomas Calvert Thomas2.Calvert@uwe.ac.uk
Research Fellow in Transport and Urban Planning



Abstract

There is growing interest in walking and how it can be encouraged due to its potential to ameliorate public health, environmental and congestion issues and the economic benefits attendant on this. However there is little research about the experience of urban walking. This paper brings new insight into this experience. Data generated through 31 in-depth qualitative interviews yielded a simple concept, rich in implications. This is that the urban walking experience can partly be understood as triangular interactions between three factors: the inner world of the pedestrian, the outer city they experience and the physical movement of walking itself. The interactions between these can have cognitive, imaginative and emotional aspects.
The paper will develop and explain two features of this triangle of interactions. Findings demonstrate how the inner world of the pedestrian and the city they experience can be related in a number of different ways through the thoughts of the pedestrian: at times the pedestrian can be lost in personal reflection or daydreaming and hardly notice their surroundings at all. At other times features in the city trigger enjoyable trains of thought and emotional states in the pedestrian. Alternatively, the city contains elements that threaten and interrupt the inner life of the pedestrian, reducing some of their walk’s experiential potential. The physical movement of walking itself is seen to be often unconscious, often acting as an ‘unobtrusive party host’ introducing the pedestrian to experiences besides itself. Thus using qualitative evidence the paper will elucidate theoretical insights into urban walking. Indications will be given of implications for policy and further research.

Citation

Calvert, T., Jain, J., & Chatterjee, K. (2015, January). Urban walking experience, understood as relationships between the pedestrian's inner world, the city they experience and their physical movement of walking. Paper presented at 47th Annual Universities' Transport Study Group Conference (UTSG), City University, London, UK

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 47th Annual Universities' Transport Study Group Conference (UTSG)
Conference Location City University, London, UK
Start Date Jan 5, 2015
End Date Jan 7, 2015
Acceptance Date Nov 10, 2014
Publication Date Jan 5, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 4, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords urban, pedestrian experience, thinking, walking, city
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/839616
Publisher URL http://www.utsg.net/web/index.php?page=2015---city-london
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 47th Universities' Transport Study Group Conference

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