the silly social animal

There is a reason why the home page of this blog has a video celebrating rhythm. All movement is rhythm, all language is rhythm, all interaction is rhythm, it is the lifeblood of presence. And being (in the ) present is the lifeblood of attention, a core theme of this blog. Stomp comes about as close as it gets to getting this across in a visceral way. Which in a most literal sense is the only way it can be really understood.

Continue reading “the silly social animal”

more on looking to see

Reblogging: Philosopher Martin Buber on What Trees Teach Us about Being More Human and Mastering the Difficult Art of Seeing Others as They Truly Are

Not sure if my piggybacking on the indefatigable  Maria Popova and her blog brainpickings again is defensible. Nothing easier than let someone else do the hard work, isn’t it? But her concise post about Buber on seeing combines so many of my fancies in a net I am too untalented too weave that I am at a loss what else to do.

Continue reading “more on looking to see”

ways to run or walk a city – ‘street art’

It may be a quirk of my twisted personality but having a purpose for going out makes it easier to ignore my inner couch potato. There are many ways to think about purpose, and one is to explore a particular theme when run-walking your living environment. This post is going to suggest different forms of street art as a theme for your outings.

Continue reading “ways to run or walk a city – ‘street art’”

looking at green Eindhoven differently – railway tracks

To complete this mini series of posts on features that can be used as corridors for urban exploration, I focus on one last bit of substantial infrastructure that traverses the city: the railway tracks.

Continue reading “looking at green Eindhoven differently – railway tracks”

looking at green and urban Eindhoven differently – mix’em and more

The advantage of taking one particular feature as your guide through the city is that it leaves you with minimal room for choice. The feature determines what you are going to come across (and hopefully be surprised by). The downside is that it leaves you with minimal room for choice. To make the most of the advantage, diversions to include something interesting or different or fun or whatever close by are best avoided.

Continue reading “looking at green and urban Eindhoven differently – mix’em and more”

looking at green Eindhoven differently – the rivers and streams

When canals can be a feature to be one’s guide for exploring the city in a new way, why not look at all (former) waterways? I covered the largest and most important of them, the well known Dommel already. But anyone familiar with Eindhoven knows that more is available.

Continue reading “looking at green Eindhoven differently – the rivers and streams”

looking at urban Eindhoven differently – the radials

It is a no-brainer that if ring roads are an urban feature to guide city exploration, radials might be too. Eindhoven has traditionally had a spider-like lay-out with radials connecting the market centre to surrounding villages and important cities further away. So lets have a look at their potential.

Continue reading “looking at urban Eindhoven differently – the radials”

looking at urban Eindhoven differently – the ring roads

The third episode in of a mini series on features of the Eindhoven urban landscape that can be used as corridors to explore the city. After the high voltage power line through Woensel and the city’s various canals, let’s talk about the ring roads.

Continue reading “looking at urban Eindhoven differently – the ring roads”

looking at green Eindhoven differently – the canals

High voltage power lines may be a somewhat oddball feature to guide city exploration, canals are certainly less so. They are natural corridors and used as such by city planners.

Continue reading “looking at green Eindhoven differently – the canals”

looking at green Eindhoven differently – the high voltage power line

Another mini-series on ways to go about exploring Eindhoven. This time not by taking the whole of the city area as our play ground, but by taking specific features traversing the landscape as corridors to follow. Let me kick off with the least obvious candidate: high voltage power lines.

Continue reading “looking at green Eindhoven differently – the high voltage power line”

ways to run or walk a city – all neighbourhoods

What I like most about the various ways of exploring our city described in this mini-series is their non-judgmental approach. Be it in the extreme of covering all streets, the normal people’s version of covering all areas using the VisitBrabant network of walking routes, or using the city as a canvas for gps art. They share that all of the city is interesting.

Continue reading “ways to run or walk a city – all neighbourhoods”

ways to run or walk a city – VisitBrabant network

The first episode of this mini-series was about an interesting but also huge project of an American professional athlete. Guys and girls like him (partly) earn their income with projects attractive to a large enough audience of followers and running media to keep them a worthwhile investment for their corporate sponsors. Thus the ‘extremism’ of his project. But us average nobodies don’t need to sell, we just want stuff to motivate ourselves and stuff that is enjoyable.

Continue reading “ways to run or walk a city – VisitBrabant network”

ways to run or walk a city – gps art

There is a fun alternative for Ricky Gates’ original, but also extremely difficult to replicate ‘project’ (unless one is a full time runner or walker), and a creative one at that: GPS art. What I most like about this city thing is that it is bound to lure you into exploring your living environment without any regard to how interesting, scenic (or whatever else makes you normally tick) it is, or better phrased: you expect/think it to be.

Continue reading “ways to run or walk a city – gps art”

Eindhoven region geology

A regular character in the tired debate between science and religion (or more broadly ‘spirituality’) is the strawman that science disenchants. Despite the countless efforts of extraordinarily gifted science popularizers like Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson and plenty others to burn that strawman, it has eternal life (click on the links for short gems of such efforts). A real pity, because just a bit of geology-based knowledge can do so much to enchant what would otherwise remain an unremarkable Eindhoven region landscape.

Continue reading “Eindhoven region geology”

from wandering to getting lost

Categories and concepts are fuzzy by nature. This fact of life is imprinted on any well-trained social scientist but seems in a constant battle with an equally ingrained striving for the unambiguous. Too fuzzy, doesn’t make sense, too clear cut, false by definition. Finding one’s way between this rock and a hard place, maybe better thought of as wandering about the space between them without being knocked out when running into one or the other (which is unavoidable, the running into I mean), is enjoyable to some, and thus actively pursued, even though its ‘pleasures’ include confusion, anguish, despair and other ‘unpleasures’, and the risk of being knocked out is real.

Continue reading “from wandering to getting lost”

exploring the Dommel valley

The more one knows about a landscape, the more interesting it becomes to explore. Obviously only the subject matter specialist can really read the palimpsestic canvas that a landscape is , but it only takes some basic bits of knowledge to realize there is something to be seen in the first place.

Continue reading “exploring the Dommel valley”

Eindhoven and urban trails

Fuzzy concepts offer an endless source of fascination. Take the relatively new concept of running trails. Let’s not start in prehistory, but just go back half a century. when running – as a sport – could reasonably be classified into three kinds, by way of the ‘surfaces’ it is done on: trackroad and cross-country

Continue reading “Eindhoven and urban trails”

pedestrianism and purpose

If you’re really interested in a particular environment, be it a spectacular mountainscape, a beautiful forest, a heritage-rich inner city, you name it, enjoy being part of it, want to connect with it to the max, why would you want to run it?

Continue reading “pedestrianism and purpose”

the category of running includes many different pursuits

Warning: only of interest to runners, if that….Nevertheless you should at least watch the short video on understanding music. This is an introduction to how I think about that very fuzzy category called running.

Continue reading “the category of running includes many different pursuits”

Eindhoven as a Dutch city

This post is a lay person’s effort to understand what being a Dutch city means. And to understand how Eindhoven fits into that picture.

Continue reading “Eindhoven as a Dutch city”

on seeing trees

Whatever land or cityscape you explore, looking out for trees is guaranteed to bring you wonder and joy. My storytelling obsessed mind finds confirmation for this in the biophilia hypothesis propounded by Edward O. Wilson, and similar kinds of we-are-connected-to-nature explanations (but also see this) for our deeply embodied responsiveness to the biosphere. But you can safely ignore that because what really matters is that responsiveness, not its explanation.

Continue reading “on seeing trees”

improving Visit Brabant’s interactive map of the walking route network

My first article for Eindhoven News sings the praise of the integrated networks of cycling and walking routes developed and managed by VisitBrabant. I’ve since learned a bit more about their history, design criteria and ambitions. That made me even more of a fan and got me thinking about what kind of tinkering might improve my already happy user experience.

Continue reading “improving Visit Brabant’s interactive map of the walking route network”

Eindhoven and unimpeded forward movement

Connecting interesting bits of townscape to each other into one uninterrupted walking and cycling area has a huge impact on usage. Take Shanghai’s Huangpu river quays. During my four years in this metropolis the city added dozens of kilometers to its landscaped, fully  pedestrianized riverfronts and connected them by one unimpeded bicycle path.

Continue reading “Eindhoven and unimpeded forward movement”

atlas of Amsterdam

It may lack the poetry and the artsy approach to mapping of Solnit’s triad of city atlases, but this stunning atlas in proper Dutch functional design tradition (by the publisher of the Bosatlas – every kid in The Netherlands since the late nineteenth century has grown up with it) has different but equally captivating qualities.

Continue reading “atlas of Amsterdam”

Rebecca Solnit’s city atlas of New York

Reblogging: Nonstop Metropolis: An Atlas of Maps Reclaiming New York’s Untold Stories and Unseen Populations

Nothing to improve on this review by the indefatigable Maria Popova (her blog brainpickings is a joy to follow!),  so I reblog her post on Solnit’s New York atlas in full. It is one in a series of three city atlases (the others are of San Francisco and New Orleans).

Continue reading “Rebecca Solnit’s city atlas of New York”

shoes and coffee

Two subjects that are not core to this blog. Nor are they related other than that many have strong opinions about both. The only defense I have for wasting your time with the below is that the embedded videos are worthwhile.

Continue reading “shoes and coffee”

on looking

Without an exploration mindset we all have trouble connecting with and immersing ourselves in the environment we find ourselves in, be it city or nature. Consciously paying attention is not so easy for most – myself definitely included. Our evolutionary default is switching to automatic pilot as quickly as possible to free up our very limited resource of conscious attention for something else. The most eloquent, persuasive and helpful guide on such a mindset that I know of is  Alexandra HorowitzOn Looking, a walker’s guide to the art of observation

Continue reading “on looking”

cities as palimpsests

The title of this post pays homage to the writer and photographer, Teju Cole. His talk at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, called The City as Palimpsest, is a treasure trove of insights and apt descriptions, and palimpsest is such a great metaphor for what fascinates me in landscapes and cities, that I am truly delighted to have hit upon this great artist.

Continue reading “cities as palimpsests”

cities as natural environments

If you are in anyway like me, you’ll have trouble escaping from the powerful mental dichotomy of nature versus human-made. But when you manage to resist its lure and look at cityscapes as particular forms of nature rather than opposed to nature much becomes visible that would otherwise remain hidden. Cities are the human ant hill, or bee hive, and their structures both reflect and influence its inhabitants, and those that came before them.

Continue reading “cities as natural environments”