Because walking is free, and we do it every day, most people undervalue it as a creative tool. Eugene argues that exploring your city, and travelling to and from work, and social engagements, on foot, is an opportunity to go deeper into your ideas, words and problem-solving. He will show how different thinkers have used it to improve their work and art. One key difference with cycling, for example, is that walkers can write down their ideas. And since walking is exercise, the blood and oxygen flow, making your brain extra alert.
Walking in your local neighbourhood is also social, and those chance encounters with friends and strangers can add to your buzzing ideas and stimulate new ones. Also the smells of a big city can be inspiring.
Most people think of green space when planning a walk, but it can be productive to use architecture, people and the big urban hustle to inspire you.
And since walking should be done offline, it is a space free of the distracting, flashy, trivial internet, where you simply can reflect and play over ideas in your mind. Modern life is always-on and over-stimulated. We need more time to think, away from screens. Euge also recommends enjoying the city soundtrack, and thus to walk without earphones.
It may not be the fastest way to get from A to B, but if you start to see walking as working, then it can be a very efficient use of your time.
Eugene Quinn believes passionately that walking is the solution to many problems, from building social solidarity, to better use of limited ecological resources, and most of all to developing new thought.
He explores the way thinkers – from Aristotle to Steve Jobs – have used city walks as both inspiration and research. Why do most people choose green spaces for walking, instead of opting for people and life and street theatre? Architecture and little details can provide plenty of ideas to bounce off. Walking provides stories, and we all love to share those. It makes the blood flow to your brain, keeps you healthy and engaged, and helps to build stronger communities. What makes for optimum urban strolling – music, maps & a picnic, or just freestyle roaming in a good pair of shoes?
After speaking to the UN on sustainable urban mobility, and several related lectures on his varied approach to walking in Vienna, Eugene is happy to be making a free talk, open to the general public.
This TED Talk was originally delivered in the Neubau district of West Vienna, in and around the Volkstheater venue, in October 2016.