Walking: The Art of Walking and its Culture

This is a research seminar on the cultural history of walking, which in different times and places has prompted different modes of walking for different reasons and objectives. The first two-thirds of the course will explore a variety of issues: forms of pilgrimage (religious and secular, yesterday and today), forms and assumptions on the art of walking from Thoreau to Michel du Certeau, the role of walking in picturesque aesthetics, modern explorations of walking (Smithson, Long, Fulton), the emphasis on walking in the design practice of Gunther Vogt, and the impact of walking on different design fields. The ultimate aim of the course is to ask students in landscape architecture, architecture and urban planning to think about and then involve concepts and practices of circulation, movement and walking in their own designs. That will be the focus of the last third of the course: at mid-term students will discuss individually with the instructor the selection of and research for a final project; this will be the basis later of an in-class presentation, that in its turn will form the final assignment of the course. These projects will explore in detail one particular theory and use of walking in their own discipline.
Students will be asked to read a small selection of relevant texts each week as a stimulus for the class discussions. During the first half of the term students will undertake their own planned walk and document it. In addition, the whole class will, at a time to be determined, visit and discuss circulation issues at a nearby sculpture garden.

The syllabus, with details of all these weekly topics and assignments, is listed on iSITE.