Walkers In The Street

Walkers In The Street

Walking in the city is as old as cities themselves. Most of the world’s urban inhabitants have usually gotten around on foot and, consequently, have mainly experienced their cities as pedestrians. What a famous architect notes of classical Greek cities has been true of most urban life until well into the industrial era: Man was compelled to walk through a whole complex of buildings and live within them in order to achieve his end. This end has traditionally included not merely physical mobility but also social and cultural goals; as observed, traditional streets tend to act both literally and metaphorically as exterior rooms in the city. They function as places as well as links. No matter what the image of the street, it has always included a set of assumptions about who should own and control it, who would live on it and use it, the purposes for which it was built, and the activities appropriate to it. Walking in the city has thus been from the start a complex human act.