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Everyone is a pedestrian

Who was the first person to drive on the moon? No one celebrates this dubious achievement, but everyone remembers the images zapped back to Earth of a human footprint on the lunar surface. Oddly enough, the moon may be the closest place to home where a footstep is so revered.

We've been walking upright for a few million years, but over the last century we've sat back and watched our species do everything it can to abandon this unique ability. Our culture minimizes travelling by foot in every possible way -- cities are designed to accommodate cars, kids count down to their sixteenth birthdays, and people look at us funny when we choose to walk home from work. Even our language takes a jab at walking: "pedestrian" is a synonym for boring or common.

But the very fact that walking is common is what makes it great. Anyone can do it, it doesn't cost a dime, and you can get into more places by walking than by any other means. Walking is an equalizer: the rich don't do it any better than the poor, and when it's raining on one person it's raining on everybody else.

Even if all you did today was walk down the street to pick up the paper or get to your car, you're a pedestrian. It's a club you can't help but be part of, and the privileges are huge.

We are all pedestrians. It's time to get off our ass.


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Spacing's second issue focuses on the many joys, obstacles and politics of walking in Toronto. The issue is packed with thoughtful and interesting articles, as well as gorgeous photography and creative layout.

Spacing was launched in December 2003 to provide residents of Toronto with the tools, information and inspiration to combat the privatization of our public spaces. Stand at any major intersection in the city and you will see that our urban environment is dominated by the automobile, advertising and commercial interests.

The release of the first issue was nothing short of a roaring success. Spacing sold out its entire print run within a month and has attracted some of the brightest young writers and artists this city has to offer.

In this issue Sheila Heti (The Middle Stories author) muses on eye contact in the city; Jim Munroe (No Media Kings indie-novelist and eye weekly columnist) gives us his take on the increasingly fashionable urban sport of Parkour; Ryan Bigge (CBC Radio's Go! producer and man about town) explores the evolution of language used to describe our public spaces; Nicole Cohen (Shameless magazine publisher) examines the female pedestrian experience; Carly Zwarenstein (Now regular contributor) takes us through the history of the walking in Toronto; Shawn Micallef (murmur mastermind) wanders Toronto aimlessly to uncover bits of the city's history; Cartographer Graeme Parry weaves us through an East End alley jaunt; and Spacing contributing editor Dylan Reid outlines what Toronto needs to be a great pedestrian city.

The pages are packed with beautiful and compelling photography from some of Toronto's top photobloggers: Davin Risk (lowresolution.com), Adam Krawesky (inconduit.com), Kevin Steele (kevinsteele.com) and Gayla Sanders (makinghappy.com)

Illustrations were provided by a few of the city's top young talent: Marc Ngui (Zak Meadow comic); Matt Daley, Marlena Zuber, Peter Ash, and Stephen Appleby.

Layout design and art direction was done by Matthew Blackett (m@b comic, eye weekly).

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