Posted November 4th 2015 at 2:10 pm by
in Discovery Walks

Discovery Walks (call for submission)

a casual encounter
“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):

  • An account of what you uncovered in 400 words or less. Please provide some context about where you are (include city, state, and country) and briefly discuss why you chose this walk.
  • 2-4 pictures from your walk.
  • Optional: A brief audio recording of a sound you noticed (less than one minute).
  • A map (you can take a screenshot from google maps) pointing out the places that you mention in your write up. You can even highlight your path if it is relevant to your discovery. See a couple of ways to do this below.Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 1.38.00 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.02.11 PM

Post by Insiyah Mohammad Bergeron, a graduate student at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Find her on twitter: @insiyahmohd

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