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Notes of [Why don’t Americans walk more?] by Vanderbilt

  • If we were to find ourselves out hiking on a forest trail and spied someone approaching at a distance, he wanted to know, would we think to ourselves: “Here comes a pedestrian”?
  • … the idea that we, this species that first hoisted itself into the world of bipedalism nearly 4 million years ago – for reasons that are still debated – should now need “walking tips,” have to make “walking plans” or use a “mobile app” to “discover” walking trails near us or build our “walking histories,” strikes me as a world-historical tragedy.
  • Why do we walk so comparatively little? The first answer is one that applies virtually everywhere in the modern world: as with many forms of physical activity, walking has been engineered out of existence.
  • Walking in America is a bit like sex: Everybody’s doing it, but nobody knows how much.
  • In her book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit writes, “walking still covers the ground between cars and buildings and the short distances within the latter, but walking as a cultural activity, as a pleasure, as travel, as a way of getting around, is fading, and with it goes an ancient and profound relationship between body, world, and imagination.”
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