Saturday, November 28, 2009

On the Pavement: Some Say Sidewalk, Some Say Footpath

When walking through cities and towns, I'm thankful for sidewalks. Seems we take them for granted sometimes. Footpaths are good, and pavements -- as some other English speaking folks call them. They are public and social spaces, with some responsibility assigned to the denizens of adjoining buildings or houses for their care and well-being. Sidewalks make the streets safer -- it's harder for cars to hit pedestrians when there's a curb or strip between streets and walkways.

The Romans laid it down quite a little while ago -- as did the Inca.

Here's an example of the "poetics of space." People use the walkways, but they also make shortcuts along "desire lines," creating "desire paths." I use these shortcuts myself a lot of times if the regularly laid out ones (as on a college campus) seem too inefficient and time's running short.

Along similar lines, this looks promising: Fernando Núñez, Carlos Arvizu, Ramón Abonce & Malcolm Malcolm Quantrill, Space and Place in the Mexican Landscape: The Evolution of a Colonial City (Studies in Architecture and Culture) (2007).

Today's Rune:


ivan said...

Expat Brits here in Canda seem to still have this nostalgia for Tudor ruins and footpaths.

Adorably Dead said...

That's what I miss in North Carolina. A majority of the time I've seen there is no sort of pavement at all. And the bike riders around here wear very dark clothing at night with no reflectors. I have almost committed vehicular manslaughter on them about three times because I could not see and they were riding in the middle of the road on a highway type road.

I miss pavements or footpaths or whatever you want to call them so badly.

the walking man said...

I find the shortcuts to be the more interesting paths, I never minded a bit of mud on my shoes.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all for the comments! AD, the bigger cities in NC do have walkways and all. We lived in Durham, and could walk for miles and miles on tree-lined sidewalks down Gregson Street and all around. But NC is split that way -- half progressive and half "you're on your own." Sounds dodgy around Rocky Mount.

jodi said...

Erik, those sidewalks are killer to negotiate in heels. Especially after a few teenies while carrying shopping bags. But I proceed...