“I’ve always enjoyed just getting out, and I’ve led historic walks in the past years in older communities. And I thought, I would give this a try and see how much I can do and learn more about the city.” So says retired Calgary teacher David Peyto, who has embarked on what is being called an “every street walk” — a plan to walk every step of every street in the city where you live. Peyto, the author of several walking guides to Calgary, was inspired by Matt Green, who is nearing the home stretch of an every street walk in New York City. And there are many others who are undertaking similar projects, such as Noelle Poulson, who is walking the length of “every street, road, mews, alley, avenue, snickleway, ginnel, crescent, square and circus of inner London.” Overall, she says, it has been “a really intense bonding experience with the city.” And though it’s vastly different than NYC and London, photographer Ariniko O’Meara is walking every street in Lansing, Michigan. Other people are doing this (or have finished walking) in the suburbs of Sydney, Berlin, San Fran and NYC — many, in fact, are drawn to the streets of New York — but let’s give the last word to Matt Green, from a TED Talk recorded in Brooklyn a couple years ago:
When we think about cities, he says we typically want them to work better for us. To be more productive, livable or engaging. All are important qualities. But if you are trying to make a relationship more enriching and rewarding, you can’t focus only on fixing the other person, he says. You need to become a better listener, more curious, and to seek out moments of intimacy. New York, like all cities, is complex and bewildering. It’s natural to devise labels and rankings to get to know it. To deepen the relationship, though, you could skip the crosstown trip to that trending new restaurant and see what’s going on down the block. Or down any block. “Don’t try to seek out anything particular, don’t even bother trying to draw any conclusions,” he says. “Just listen to what the city has to tell you . . . and let your own unique instincts guide you.”
One thought on “Walking every street”
I’ve been doing this for the past few years in Toronto and tracking my progress on Google maps. It’s fun and a great way to get me out of my own neighbourhood.