The Walkable City: From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond – Mary Soderstrom
I discovered the term “flâneur” a while back, someone who explores cities on foot, and it is a fancy word to describe something I enjoy doing. I try to walk as much as I can, and I like to just wander around in areas I’ve never been in before.
So when I saw this book at the library I grabbed it. The author uses the examples of Georges-Eugène Haussmann and his radical transformation of Paris in the mid 1800s, and the influential writing of American transplant to Canada, Jane Jacobs, to delve into the many benefits of making walking an integral part of an urban centre. Paris and Toronto (and specifically the 1950’s planned community of Don Mills) are the two major cities discussed, but other examples of good urban planning and consequently, desirable places to live and work, are also included.
While I enjoy walking for it’s own sake, I also enjoyed this exploration of some of the broader implications of walking and how it relates to the urban centers people inhabit.