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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Walking LA

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Walk LA

A woman named Lisa Salem is trying to walk all over Los Angeles, without going back home, with only a camera-fitted baby stroller sparsely packed with a cellphone, sunglasses, bottled water and Kleenex, relying on friends and the kindness of strangers met through chance encounters. She has been doing it since May (though she’s had to return home occasionally), and recording her experiences in a blog.

She explained to the LA Times: “We’re all living such different experiences of this town, and yet when we say ‘Los Angeles’ we tend to presume that we’re talking about the same thing. What would happen if I walked through all the different neighborhoods? Would I get a better sense of where I live? What would I see that I don’t normally see? I think I know this place fairly well, but how well do I really know it and what would be revealed to me if I approached it from this absurd kind of place?”

The project is an ingenious exploration of public space and public interaction, but it is kind of sad, and revealing, that the idea of walking through LA seems so “absurd.” The 1993 movie “Falling Down“, with Michael Douglas as a lost and bitter soul who abandons his car in a freeway traffic jam and starts walking across LA, had a related premise – that it is strange and noteworthy to imagine someone walking across Los Angeles. In the movie, the cops can’t work out where he is or what he’s up to because they don’t expect him to be moving at a walking pace.