Walkability is essential in creating an environment that allows for human interactions. According to Hannah Arendt we thrive in the performance aspect of the human interactions in which the neighborhood/ city becomes our stage. While driving in cars we take ourselves out of the performance of the street and all that we gain from casual interactions with acquaintances and strangers.
I keep going back to the notion of de-humanization that is rooted in both our complex society and our consumerist tendencies. We have become not only ignorant and removed from where things originate from but are at a point where we have simply stopped questioning where things come from. We turn on a faucet and out comes water–the systems that have been politely hidden in our walls and underground have also distanced us from understanding these very systems.
The Pompidou Centre in Paris was a provocative design when it was completed in 1977 in that the building honored the hidden aspects of architecture by exposing ducts and pipes. Can this apply on a neighborhood scale? By no means am I proposing exposed utility grids of our city and neighborhoods but maybe we can start to apply those transparency strategies to allow for education and ownership of the environment. Ownership is a critical aspect in any transformation of the city, and understanding enables ownership.