A sidewalk "engagement strategy".

"Wonder doesn't come from outside, somewhere spectacular you drove to see; it comes from within. It is a union of the natural world we are already in, and the mind prepared to receive it. (Nathanael Johnston. Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons).

City Hall, Urban Planners, Licensing Agencies, Universities and Architect firms are important. They have things to tell us too, suggestions to make about how to live. But any single person anywhere can also do this. Everyone anywhere can make a hundred thousand small, cost-free, seemingly-insignificant changes to, and in, the spaces of collective living, which in fact can and will and do improve the lives of others in that space, even just a teeny bit.

Here's what one graduate Architecture student said after one of our rants about the lofty neo-liberal concept of "engagement strategies": I found your point for us all to understand the systems at work in our home places, being observant and connected,

to find those gaps and use what means and passion we have to respond to those gaps or mismatches in critically engaged but pragmatic ways on the ground particularly salient."


A doing, not a thinking-about-doing.

Small shifts in the tuning forks that are our brains in the places that are our streets.

Ping! Listening to the place where we already are.

Ping! Listening to what the other inhabitants of our streets, our sidewalks, the air above these and the ground beneath them, have to tell us about what would make it better.

Ping! Remembering with clarity the place we once were: what made our minutes, hours, days wonderful when we were children....wewere all children once....on streets, on sidewalks, on paths, living our lives with open minds, open to wonder. The children around us and in us will tell us.

But we have to pay attention.