Three Cool Ways to Explore a City

1. Flip a Coin: "Lliving a block away from the World Trade Center site after 9/11, I re-explored lower Manhattan by leaving my house, flipping a coin at every intersection to determine my route," writes photographer and writer Gavin Edwards.

"After exactly one hour, I would stop and take a photograph of where I was. I did 48 of these walks. The '48 Hours from Ground Zero' project resided at an interesting intersection of emotion and binary options; I found that through randomness, I was rewiring my memories."

You can see the pictures and hear the stories of Gavin's coin-flipping walks on his site, RuleFortyTwo.com. (Discovered via Boing Boing, thanks.)

2. Follow that Taco: Last fall, David Fletcher assigned his architecture students to find out where their truck tacos came from. "Our premise was that a seemingly simple, familiar food like the taco truck taco could provide visceral insight into the connections between the systems we were exploring," the collective writes. "By thoroughly learning the process of formation and lifecycle for what it takes to make a taco, we would be better able to propose and design a speculative model of a holistic and sustainable urban future. What resulted was a richly complex network of systems, flows and ecologies that we call the global Tacoshed." Here's the visual result:

Want to discover more about where your tacos come from and how that shapes your city? If you live in the Bay Area, the Studio for Urban Projects will host a talk about the Tacoshed project on Thursday, February 25th, 7pm.

3. Listen to a Cellphone Audio Tour (or Create One Yourself): "Murmur, a new project that is ostensibly an audio tour of the city, was recently launched, providing cell phone access to the little nuggets of history that give a community its flavor, ranging from intimate to obscure to obvious," reports the magazine Shelterforce. "Participants simply walk down the street, look for the telltale Murmur sign in front of a building or a landmark, and dial in. The stories, produced by nine students at Orange High School... provide a look at a town that has, like many of New Jersey’s urban areas, seen its highs and lows." This is a terrific idea, something that anyone can create and anyone can listen to. 

If you go to the Murmur site, you'll see the map above--and if you click on one of the red dots, you'll hear a story about that place. An amazing project.

How do you like to explore cities?

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