According to Rebecca Solnit in her article, “Walking and the Suburbanized Psyche”, she explains that if humans continue to devalue walking the industrious state of humans will be inevitably lost. Solnit connects how suburbs, modes of transportation, and inconvenience lead to society’s “lazy” attitude about walking. I agree with Solnit’s claim, because though industrious improvement allows society to progress, many become excessively dependent.
Transport vs Walking
In the suburbs, social life, shopping centers, and work are placed farther from homes than the city. To be able to reach a destination, most require more than a mile of walking. Solnit claims that these transformations does not only discourage walking, but it also changes how we view walking. Nowadays, walking is seen as a form of a chore. For instance, when I was 10, I moved to Riverside from the City of Angels. I immediately noticed the vast unclaimed earth, which stretches for acres. Homes were threaded together in a continuous pattern that would make you question if you passed the same house twice, and there were more carbon footprints than actual footprints on the streets. As for places to go, there practically is none. There is only one major shopping center called Tyler mall and as a kid that is where me and my friends would hang out. To be able to travel in Riverside, I depend on the transportation of cars due to the fact that no destination is in walking distance. People become unfamiliar to walking, because it is the least effective and convenient mode of transportation in the suburbs. As a result, walking becomes less popular among everyone.
Modes of transportation such as cars, buses, and trains are ways for people to travel to and from places at a fast rate. It has contributed to the decline of walking, because in a world of busy schedules, and quick paced environments, individuals prefer to take convenience to be able to maximize how much is accomplished in a day. According to Solnit, the eighteenth century was the golden age for walking. In the past, people walked to work, to get a meal, or even to go on a date, but that time has long since passed and we have evolved. Now, public space has been found void and instead we appraise the privatization of space. Solnit illustrates how public spaces where people can interact are being replaced with buildings, shopping centers, and traffic engineering. This shows how it is making it less and less accessible walk from point A to point B. Walking is an option for many, but it requires more work and energy. It is possible that our future would end up like the popular Disney movie, Wall-E. If you have not seen the movie, in the future humans have become dependent on technology that they no longer had the purpose to walk. They traveled in floating chairs that had built in entertainment and food. The humans in the movie were obese and could not engage in a in more depth conversation. This movie parallels what Solnit states within her article. Solnit believes that laziness will obstruct imagination and originality. Nature and walking is a place that allows perceptual thinking.
“Lazy” mindset towards walking
Inconvenience is one of the major reasons as to why humans have a “lazy” mindset towards walking. We have alienated ourselves from a natural biological function. Inconveniences such as rain, snow, or the scalding heat is seen as drawbacks and, it determines whether or not an individual will consider walking out their front door. But why is that? As technology advances, most tasks can be achieved at home such as; shopping, groceries, and work. It does not require humans to interact with the outside world. It gives humans the choice whether or not they should leave the comforts of their own homes. For example, let’s say that Andy is a full time student at the University of California-Riverside and works part time at Panda Express. Andy is in need of some groceries and outside it is raining. Andy lives four miles from the nearest Stater Bros and he just came home from school and work. Though Andy only lives four miles away from the nearest grocery store, Andy chooses to drive to the store instead. He chose to do so because, of the inconveniences of the rain, the length, and his schedule. If he were to walk, it would take away time from his study time and his energy. Many Americans are similar to Andy. We live in a working society where we build excuses as to why we are unable walk. It is why we see walking more of an inconvenience than a mode of transportation because there are better and faster ways to do so.
I agree with Solnit’s claim that if society continues to devalue walking human diligence will vanish. Walking is essential to keep the mind refreshed and active. Without it, humans are left in a dull, static mindset that unables significant progress that contributes to economic improvement. Suburbs and automobiles are factors that devalue walking. Humans are subject to adapting to industrious improvement, but should not fully depend on its services. Solnit shares a perspective which reflects on the neglection of walking. Humans are often blindsided that it often forgotten that walking got the human race this far in the first place.