As anyone who has been on a Jane’s Walk can attest, the experience of walking in the city – the sights, sounds, smells, interactions, and emotions you experience while moving through urban space – shapes the story that you know and tell about your city. It shapes how we feel about a place, which in turn shapes how we interact with that place, and how we share ideas and reflections about that place with others. It’s these stories – shaped by the experience of walking in the city, that universal and yet wholly personal act – that led the City Builder Book Club to create our City Soundwalk and City Photowalk activities.
By inviting residents from cities around the world to capture their experience of “arrival” in the city through sound and images, carefully recorded and organized, we wanted to find a way to share that visceral, personal urban experience that is walking. The City Builder Book Club is an online reading club about cities. The Book Club aims to foster an engaging global dialogue about urban landscapes and urban life, starting from the shared experience of reading.
This year, the City Builder Book Club is hosting a guided reading and global discussion of Arrival City (2011), a book by Canadian journalist Doug Saunders about the great urban migration and the ways in which rural newcomers are shaping their new lives in cities and, in turn, shaping the cities themselves.
In addition to weekly chapter reflections by urban thinkers and doers form around the globe, the Book Club is hosting a number of interactive elements where readers can participate more directly in our reading of Arrival City. This is where the City Soundwalk and City Photowalk activities fit in. By inviting readers to share the sights and sounds of “arrival” in their city, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of how cities around the world are being shaped by arrival, and how this is shaping how we experience the city on a daily basis.
Jane’s Walk has an incredible network of city-shapers, curious minds, community- builders. We would love for you to share how “arrival” shapes your city by submitting a Soundwalk or Photowalk (or both!) to the City Builder Book Club. We’ve created step-by-step guides (here and here) to lead you through the process of recording, organizing, and submitting your Soundwalk and Photowalk, and posted examples to help you get started. We’ll share the submitted Soundwalks and Photowalks on our blog and with hundreds of Book Club members across the globe (with attribution, of course). We’re curious to hear the sounds and see the sights of arrival in your city, and to share in your experience of urban walking.