Posing for Poshterity – Feet in the Air

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Call them “photographers for rent” or “personal paparazzi”… you can hire someone to capture your travel journey or out-in-the town-adventure frame-by-frame.    (http://blog.flytographer.com/category/nyc/

http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Page/document/hubsv3/Travel/travelPages?activities=photography

Springing into Action – Feet in the Air

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In this 2011 photo released by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), elite female athletes dive into the Schwarzsee Lake for the start of their world championship swim.

The Dextro Energy Triathlon took place in Kitzbuhel, Austria. (AP Photo/ITU, Delly Carr)

 

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/photo-released-international-triathlon-union-elite-women-dive-photo-175238999.html

Hanging onto Slim Hope…Feet in the Air

 

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After a monsoon in 2013, a boy dangled from a power line before diving into an overflowing Ganges River.  Allahabad, India

 

http://www.philipchircop.com/post/71403192364/images-from-2013-a-boy-dangling-allahabad

Photo: Sanjay Kanojia/Agence France-Presse, Getty Images, Source:New York Times

 

See also:   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346033/India-Floods-2013-Rescuers-pull-bodies-River-Ganges-mud-left-landslides-death-toll-monsoon-flooding-northern-India-rises-nearly-600.html

“Traitors’” Feet in the Air

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Branded as turncoats and accused of committing treason, eight men were hung in public view by the British near the end of the War of 1812. This image depicting feet in the air is a part of a mural by Lori Le Mare.  (http://www.pinterest.com/mmrocks/fieldcote-museum-exhibit-by-lori-lemare/)

The Fieldcote Museum in Ancaster Ontario has become a centre of the “Bloody Assize” commemoration.  Apparently, several visitors to the museum have acknowledged a family connection to these infamous Upper Canadian settlers. Mark McNeil (mmcneil@thespec.com) wrote in the Hamilton Spectator: “Time has a way of revising attitudes. Yesterday’s traitor might be seen today as an unfortunate rebel. One man’s turncoat is another man’s hero. And maybe the British army was doing things that deserved disloyalty, such as throwing people out of their homes and eating their food”.

 http://www.thespec.com/news-story/2243205-bloody-assize-revisited/

 Photo Source:

https://www.google.com/search?q=lori+le+mare+studio&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=VSAFU-_0BMq8yAHis4HwBA&ved=0CFUQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566

Team Feet in the Air

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Canadian basketball team jump for joy in front of the Olympic rings inside the London 2012 Olympic Village in Stratford, east London. July 24, 2012.

 

Shopped original photo by: AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, Pool

 http://onomeister.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/onomeisters-olympics-photo-of-the-day-go-canadian-womens-basketball/

Pedestrian Strolls and Promenades in Italy

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“The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany, and no such gardens seem to have flourished in Italy, perhaps because they were unneeded.  For the Italian pre-dinner stroll – the passaggiata – many towns close down their main streets to wheeled traffic. The street is the pivotal social space, for meeting, debating, courting, buying and selling.” 

      Quoted from: Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, pp. 178-179.  http://www.amazon.com/Wanderlust-History-Walking-Rebecca-Solnit/dp/0140286012

Solnit quotes Edwin Denby: “In ancient Italian towns the narrow main street at dusk becomes a kind of theatre.  The community strolls affably and looks itself over.  The girls and the young men, from fifteen to twenty-two, display their charm to one another with lively sociability. The more grace they show the better the community likes them. In Florence or in Naples, in the ancient city slums the young people are virtuoso performers and they do a bit of promenading anytime they are not busy.”  Of young Romans, he wrote, “Their stroll is as responsive as if it were a physical conversation.”

 

      Solnit’s quote from:  “In ancient Italian town the narrow main street”: Edwin Denby, Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, introduction by Frank O’Hara (New York: Horizon Press, 1965), 183.

 

Photo Source:   https://www.google.com/search?q=florence+passeggiata+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=iwQFU6LrMpCFogSF84LAAw&ved=0CCQQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566

A Pedestrian Plaza in New York City

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In Brooklyn, the No. 3 subway line ends at New Lots Avenue, where passengers descend from the elevated tracks to what used to be a nasty intersection, trafficked by prostitutes, drug dealers — “You name it,” as Eddie Di Benedetto, the owner of Caterina’s Pizzeria, put it the other day.

Not long ago, a coalition of local merchants and community leaders turned to the New York City Department of Transportation, which runs a program to make traffic circles, triangles and streets into pedestrian plazas. The department brought in some potted trees and chairs, closed off a short street and voilà, what had been a problem became a boon. Since the plaza opened last summer, crime has plummeted, Mr. Di Benedetto told me, crediting the local police precinct. He heads the New Lots Avenue Triangle Merchants Association.

“People use the place all the time now, meaning the area is watched and safe,” he said. “I’ve had my pizzeria since 1971, so I can tell you, this is a renaissance.”  

 

From: “A Street Corner Serenade for the Public Plaza” by Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, June 2, 2013.

Read more:   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/arts/design/a-prescription-for-plazas-and-public-spaces.html?_r=0

Green Pedestrian Crossings in Shanghai

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Pedestrians walk into a crosswalk and plant green leaves with every footstep.  A campaign by DDB China Group uses street art to promote walking.  While there is no guarantee that awareness will shift in a country that now boasts 500 million cars; it is an advocacy movement taking one step at a time. 

“We decided to leverage a busy pedestrian crossing; a place where both pedestrians and drivers meet. We lay a giant canvas of 12.6 meters long by 7 meters wide on the ground, covering the pedestrian crossing with a large leafless tree. Placed on either side of the road beneath the traffic lights, were sponge cushions soaked in green environmentally friendly washable and quick dry paint. As pedestrians walked towards the crossing, they would step onto the green sponge and as they walked, the soles of their feet would make foot imprints onto the tree on the ground. Each green footprint added to the canvas like leaves growing on a bare tree, which made people feel that by walking they could create a greener environment.”

After an initial deployment on seven Shanghai streets, the award-winning Crossing was later expanded to 132 roads in 15 Chinese cities. DDB estimates that 3.9 million people participated. Predictably, it blew up across Chinese media channels, and was even featured in the Shanghai Zheng Da Art Museum.

 

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680511/amazing-interactive-street-art-turns-pedestrian-footsteps-into-the-leaves-of-trees

What’s the Walkability of Your Neighborhood?

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What is Walkability?

                (From: http://www.janeswalk.org/information/resources/walkability)

Walkability is a quantitative and qualitative measurement of how inviting or un-inviting an area is to pedestrians. Walking matters more and more to towns and cities as the connection between walking and socially vibrant neighborhoods is becoming clearer. Built environments that promote and facilitate walking – to stores, work, school and amenities – are better places to live, have higher real estate values, promote healthier lifestyles and have higher levels of social cohesion.

When you think of an area you like to walk, it probably has certain conditions or features that make it walker-friendly. For many that means wide well-maintained sidewalks, benches, good lighting, direct routes, interesting stores, buildings and amenities. For others it might mean shady green spaces, quieter routes or places where strollers, dogs and scooters are welcome. Walkability is a subjective measurement – some people like to stroll quietly on side streets, while others seek out the hustle and bustle of busy commercial districts. Often these subjective considerations are about our desire to be safe, other times it’s about aesthetic preferences.

Examining the walkability of a neighborhood, town or city is an important factor to consider when thinking about making places more welcoming, livable and safe. Areas where lots of people are around, shopping, going to work or school, or just hanging out are considered more desirable living places which promote social connectedness, healthy lifestyles and reduce car dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Walkability Tool Kit is a very basic introduction to the concepts of walkability and offers some simple tools to help you measure and capture the walking environment in your neighborhood. The process helps connect local residents, raises awareness about what makes a community walkable, and the data and observations collected can be useful in the larger goal of making improvements.

For Walkability Tool Kit:   http://www.janeswalk.org/old/assets/uploads_docs/2010_walkability_checklist_janes_walk.pdf

See also:   http://tidescanada.org/about/change-makers/janes-walk-and-centre-for-city-ecology/

                  http://www.janeswalk.org/information/resources/walkability

‘Patron Saint’ of Pedestrians

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The late Hans Monderman was a Dutch traffic engineer and former driving instructor. His work in redesigning roads redefined the relationship between pedestrians and drivers.

He knew that drivers were more reliant on road markings, signs, and signals than on their common sense and intelligence.  If drivers face more uncertainty and have to choose who has ‘right of way’, they are more likely to slow down.  Everyone, pedestrian and drivers alike, become more responsible. “A wide road with a lot of signs is telling a story,” Monderman said. “It’s saying, go ahead, don’t worry, go as fast as you want, there’s no need to pay attention to your surroundings. And that’s a very dangerous message.” (Quoted in: http://walkablestreets.wordpress.com/2004/12/18/roads-gone-wild/)

Monderman’s simple roads featured public art, landscape and lighting. His early success in reducing vehicle speed in the Dutch village of Oudehaske attracted further work in more than 100 towns and villages.  His redesign of complex intersections and shopping streets caught the attention of professionals and politicians beyond the Netherlands. The EU initiated a “shared space” program based on his planning principles.

TV journalists would interview the humble Monderman in the middle of a busy stream of traffic. He would demonstrate his confidence in the responsible adaptability of drivers by walking backwards into the traffic. 

He died from cancer, aged 62.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/news/2008/feb/02/mainsection.obituaries

 Photo source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_space