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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Explore Montreal with your own two feet — and psyche

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When I opened this week’s edition of the Mirror I was surprised to find, right next to my own article about Larry Beasley, another story about fellow Spacing Montreal contributor Jacob Larsen. Jacob is the “de facto organizer” of the Montreal Psychogeography Society, a group that organizes random strolls around different parts of Montreal. So far, the walks have taken the society’s members to St. Michel, Côte des Neiges, upper Westmount and Outremont. On July 1st, they wandered around various residential neighbourhoods to witness the madness of moving day.

The Mirror has more:

Inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s idea of the flâneur as a “gentleman stroller of city streets” and coined by 1950s Parisian Situationists to define their rambling walks, the term “psychogeography” refers to the idea that geographic surroundings affect the human psyche. Simply put, it’s observing the human interpretation of urban landscapes through dérive, or aimless walking. But for Jacob Larsen, it’s mostly about taking the road less travelled.


With humble origins as just one of seven psychogeography groups on Facebook (other chapters are found in New York City, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, London and San Francisco), the Montreal Psychogeography Society remains a somewhat obscure DIY project, though it’s picking up new members here and there. Larsen is also partly responsible for bringing the Toronto-based Spacing magazine to Montreal in blog format, though he’s careful to separate the two—Spacing takes a more activist or advocacy approach to public space, whereas the Psychogeography Society merely explores those spaces.

“I don’t see it as a critical mass—it’s not about owning space; it’s a conscious engagement with our surroundings,” Larsen says. “It’s neat to use walking as a gauge of public space; to see if streets and neighbourhoods are viable public spaces.”

You can find out more about the Psychographic Society on Facebook. No word yet on the group’s next destination.


One comment

  1. Hey, is it the Roddick Gates in front of the McGill campus on the picture?

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