‘Stepping in time’: walking, time, and space in the city
There is a well-documented emphasis within transport policy on speed and efficiency, with the benefits of transport schemes frequently assessed in these terms. The focus on reducing journey times is also evident in pedestrian policy, with the ‘time-saving’ attributes of walking often promoted. However, this emphasis on speed within the transport policy arena reflects linear understandings of time as nothing more than ‘clock time’ passing. In contrast, this paper explores the multiple forms of temporality and spatiality that emerge out of and shape urban pedestrian movement. The discussion draws upon in-depth interview and diary data from fieldwork undertaken in London, and in so doing provides a ‘timely’ empirical engagement with theoretical understandings of time and space. Within this examination of the multiple temporalities of urban walking, it is suggested that people become aware of the experiential dimensions of time when they are made to wait. The paper moves on to explore the issues of physical mobility difficulties in the context of highlighting the multiple spatialities of walking, and attention is also drawn to how people use temporal and spatial concerns to frame their identities as to who they are in relation to others. It is suggested that notions of rhythm provide a productive means for engaging with how time, space, and identity interrelate as people walk.
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