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20 November 2014

May I walk with you? Exploring difference and inequality in everyday walking practices in Santiago de Chile

Soledad Martinez Rodriguez, PhD Candiate, UCL Geography

Walking is a practice performed day after day in many cities. Even when walking is the most basic way of human movement, it is not the same for everyone: there are differences. Walking can mean different things; it can entail different affects and diverse materialities. Walking is either enjoyed, suffered, endured or experienced as freedom. The overall interest of my research is to provide an understanding of everyday walking practices in Santiago de Chile, putting special attention on their differences. Walking has been explored by a great diversity of disciplines. Particularly urban walking has usually been considered by transport, health or planning perspectives as an evident way of movement: to walk is to put one foot in front of the other. Therefore, these perspectives are based on functional aspects such us frequency, accessibility, distances, infrastructure, etc. Facing this context, my research considers walking from a more holistic perspective that conceives walking as more than a physical activity able to be accounted for only by measurements and modelling. Instead I argue that walking is a social practice that is shaped by power and asymmetry, producing differences in people’s experiences of walking that can be considered as uneven and unjust. By answering how different the act of walking the city is I intend to make visible forms of inequality in people’s everyday lives.

 

New ways of looking into the experience of cities

Panos Mavros, Phd Candiate, UCL Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

Life in cities involves exploring, learning and navigating familiar and new areas, making decisions about how to get to places and being exposed to everything the city has to offer: amongst others interest, stimulation and intrigue to noise and air pollution. This presentation will discuss how we can approach and study the experience of cities at various levels. In particular it will discuss the use of psychophysiological measurement and mobile Electroencephalography as a window into the mental processes of pedestrians and present work-in-progress into the neural basis of navigation, and the urban experience of visual impairment.


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