This class extends the scope of the two previous interdisciplinary courses (Of Cities and People; Architecture which Hurts, Architecture which Heals), which examined the manner in which the built environment influences wellbeing, identity, memory, and design - utilizing a holistic perspective. This course aims to contextualize the phenomenological experience of flånerie (aimless walking) and intentional walking through Beijing (a culturally complex, large, intense and varied modern urban and ancient built environment) within a series of academic readings covering topics within, for example, neuroscience, design, mental and physical health, sustainability (conceptualized from a holistic perspective covering emotional, social, as well as environmental sustainability) and anthropology.
Walking connects one to the environment in a direct and timeless manner that is distinctly different from travelling by motorized means. 'Flanerie' in the context of an urban phenomenological experience of the embodied mind opens up essential aspects of the human experience: identity (who we are), orientation (where we are going), and recognition (where we are). Walking allows one to experience physical, environmental, and emotional comfort and discomfort, delight and dismay, stress and stimulation, puzzlement and enlightenment, confusion and inspiration in navigating the city in various planned and unplanned movement scenarios. This more direct connection to the environment allows for the experience of spatial inhibition, of anxiety and/or delight created by the geometry, geography, scale, size, form, color, texture, sound, and activities within the environment. Walkability, which is considered as a paradigm of both urban (environmental - physical 'geographies') and psychological (emotional 'geographies') sustainability is influenced by issues of density, urban & architectural design, and social interactions. In addition, this type of pedagogy (interdisciplinary, phe