The Walking City is a Better City: Promoting Human Social-Spatial Understanding as a Foundational Framework for Urban Planning
Author(s)McFarland, Ross Andrew
KeywordsEmbodiment; Pedestrian; Social Understanding; Urban Planning; Walkability; Walking
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AbstractThesis (Master's)--University of Washington, 2015
Walking, and the agency it provides, is a fundamental part of how we as human beings process and engage the world around us. Walking is not simply a mode of transportation but a lens through which we build greater social connection and understanding. However, the current normative landscape, particularly in the United States, has assumed the primacy of the automobile in the public right-of-way and has marginalized walking as an embodied activity. Urban planning must be rooted in embodied human experience, and walkability should be seen as an ethical imperative, to refocus urban planning on the connection of human beings in cities. In this thesis, I present the effects of the automobile paradigm and the marginalization of walking in public space; I discuss theories of meaning and embodied experience in walking; and, ultimately, I explore how walking, and the greater social understanding that it can promote, moves us toward a better city.