“A Casual Encounter”. Photo credit: Flickr/Paulo Valdivieso.
What do you notice when you walk? New construction sites? Old buildings? Church bells ringing? Mouthwatering smells? Have you tried to unpack what lies beyond these sensory cues? What do the sights, scents and sounds tell you about the history of a place? What questions come up for you?
This series provides a space for you to investigate the urban processes behind what you observe and share your discoveries with people who like you, care about the layers of history and meaning hidden in the places they inhabit.
Here is how to participate:
1. Choose a path to walk. This can be your favorite walk, or one that you do everyday.
2. Pay attention. Record 1-3 things that you notice on this path. How are the streets paved? Does one street smell like curry or cake? Do you notice train tracks that are no longer in use? Are there specific streets where people walk faster or slower than they would elsewhere? Do you wonder who might be responsible for the holiday decorations on the streetlights?
3. Investigate. Think about the information that your senses absorbed. What scents, sounds or sights are you most curious about? What might these observations prompt you to enter into a google search? Do that google search! Alternatively (or additionally), discuss these observations with folks around you. What have you discovered about the past, present, or future of your surroundings that was prompted by your sensory inquiry.
4. Share your discoveries. Send the following to Insiyah Mohammad (submissions will be posted to this blog and shared via our social media channels):
Post by Insiyah Mohammad Bergeron, a graduate student at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Find her on twitter: @insiyahmohd.