Walking the city: An essay on peripatetic practices and politics

D. Macauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Perhaps even more than walking in the wilderness, 1 sauntering and strolling in the city and its suburbs involves multiple, repeated and deeply imbricated border crossings, including nested neighborhoods, traffic flows, ethnic enclaves, residential and commercial zones, subcultures, historical sites, sacred spaces and outcroppings of the wild in parks, cemeteries and abandoned lots. In this sense, urban walking is by its very nature a transformative practice because the moving body and the plurality of places it inhabits are constantly conjoined and then decoupled in new ways that come to reveal the metropolitan world in its manifold dimensions. In the following essay, pedestrian practices and problmes in the urban environment are explored along with their broader relation to what may be called peripatetic politics. The withdrawal of the walker's world and the decline of the walking city are described in conjunction with an attempt to uncover the close connection between walking and place. In the process, the sites and situations of urban walking are elucidated, including sidewalks and streets, promenades and parks, and outdoor or indoor malls. By contrast, we can observe the manner in which auto culture tends to change or curtail contact with our surroundings, encouraging a kind of self-absorbed "sleep walking".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-43
Number of pages41
JournalCapitalism, Nature, Socialism
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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