Walking and the City
space and place loves to walk. As social designers, we know that there is no better way to build strong communities than having lots of locals out on the streets, playing together and getting to know each other. 2015 was officially the year of walking, and so we put on creative events which celebrated Vienna as a good city to explore on foot. Walking is sexy, theatrical, fun, simple, free, healthy, ecological, social, and political. It helps you engage with the day, refresh your head, and notice new things. Walkers vote more progressively than car drivers.
We wanted to turn walking in Vienna into a press story internationally, and to mix up fun and politics.
Geh bitte! And walk on the wild side.
Projects included Silly Walks Contests, a popular 10-hour walk visiting every Bezirk, an urban exploration of why Vienna has the highest quality of life in the world, the award-winning Vienna Ugly tour of the city's worst architecture - which brought lots of international press interest, a role for Eugene Quinn as ambassador at the Walk21 global conference in Rathaus, English lessons for children presented as walks in Augarten park, plus a walking songs disco in the Alte Post (Johnny Cash's Walk the Line, These Boots are made for Walking, The Wanderer and Walk like and Egyptian).
Vienna Ugly showed that walking tours are more interesting when there is a mix of local residents and outsiders, to compare perspectives.
We challenged the conventions of tourist tours, receiving two fines from the Wirtschaftskammer Wien (380), which allowed us to turn the walks into a story of innovation vs bureaucracy and conservative thinking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBBFXtLkf_4
We created a new way of looking at a city - celebrating the aesthetic mistakes.
And now we have beaten the WKOe, and can make any tours we like, without fines. Our tours feature on Wien tourismus's website, and the city-planning department sent us a list of 11 buildings they want us to include on the Ugly tour.
We helped to make walking, and walking tours, a bit more cool.
And even turned walking into art?: after a report on Kulturmontag about Vienna Ugly, the walk will be part of the Beton summer show at Kunsthalle, from 24 June 2016.