Hi.

WELCOME to Curious Feet St. Louis.

My name is Claire. I’ve been blogging about the city for several years, but I decided it was time for a new venue.

I am 23 years old, and I’m just now learning to drive. I’ve spent my whole life on foot, on my bike, on public transit, and in cabs (and yes, as a passenger in others’ cars—thanks for the rides everyone!), and I like how that experience has shaped my view of what a city is and how a city works (or fails to work). A walking city is one seen from a cornerstorefront’seyeview. A walking city is a sustainable one, and a place where people have space to interact with their neighbors. A walking city at its best can be a place where we have a chance to support businesses that support our neighborhood in return. A walking city has sidewalk cafes and neighborhood taverns and Victorian parks.

Expressway-based cities, um, not so much.

My goal is to get a driver’s license within the next three months. As I become a driver and change the way I relate to the place where I live, I want to reaffirm my commitment to experiencing the landscape at the level of intimacy and interaction that only slow, measured steps can provide. So, here I am.

I’ve been told that NiNi Harris, the accomplished architectural historian and author, claims to have walked every block on the South Side in the course of her life. That’s amazing and wonderful. As a North Sider, and as someone who’d like to see St. Louisans lose their irrational fear of Delmar, I want to walk every block within the entire city limits.

At least, I’m going to try.

I’m not sure if I’ll make it, and I’m not about to set a six-month timeline for this project! Like walking, this is more about the journey and what I’ll see along the way than it is about my ultimate destination. We’ll see what happens.

Will there be descriptions of long walks? Yes. Is that all? Of course not. While I plan to document specific walks and my progress covering the city at large, much of the blog will also be spent focusing on broader topics. Potential subjects include (but are not limited to): Architecture and historic preservation, the Near North Side, city life, pedestrianism, local events and culture, friends’ projects, and all things StL-icious. A friend who’s a professor likes to start his classes with the question, “Did anybody have any urban moments over the weekend?” This blog is all about the urban moment.

So, again: Welcome. Come in, sit down, make yourself comfortable. Please consider bookmarking Curious Feet, and please consider adding it to your blogroll if you have one. I can’t promise you’ll always agree with what you read here or how I say it, but I do hope that you get something out of what I’ve got to tell you.

Grab your comfy shoes, and let’s start exploring.

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Published in: on November 1, 2007 at 2:59 am  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Your site is purty Claire. Classic and timeless. I am looking forward to quality content.

  2. Hopefully years of conceptual continuity!

  3. This is an awesome idea! Just a tip–New Balance shoes have excellent arch support and would be great for this project. NB isn’t paying me to say this–I wear a pair for my forever-on-my-feet job, and I still have working feet!

  4. Yay! I can’t wait to read more. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 28, so you are ahead of me. (It is nice to have choices!)

  5. Look forward to reading more. Sounds like a great idea. I’ve had my license since my 16th birthday, but growing up in rural MO, most of my friends started drivng trucks and tractors around the farm as soon as they could reach the pedals. There it was a new chore to get a license, not a right of passage.

  6. Claire, good luck with getting your license. Up here in Chicago, if both of our sickeningly heralded “transit doomsdays” happen, I may have to consider getting my license, too (at the age of 37). Even though I live downtown, our transit system will be decimated right through the heart of the city if our state and city leaders don’t get their act together.

    I admire you for having lasted his long without driving. I have taken many (many) long walks through Chicago and, like you, I know the experience of your city on foot (especially when you are in love with your city as I am with Chicago and you are with St. Louis) is something you just can’t replicate in a car.

    Ive never visited your city but have always wanted to. I look forward to learning about from your perspective. You’re officially RSS bookmarked 🙂

  7. Steve, Doug, and Laura, THANKS.

    Stef, right on!

    Curtis, that’s interesting. Hadn’t thought about that as a city kid. Guess I’ve seen some pretty young drivers driving suspiciously well at tractor pulls, though.

    Mike, may the goddess have mercy on us all if that CTA stuff happens. I lived in Chicagoland (Skokie, and later Humboldt Park) for almost a decade, and…. yeah, I cannot even begin to imagine how that city could work without the CTA.

    But Chi is a wonderful place to walk, as you well know. I developed a fondness for walking when I grew up in a great little urban neighborhood here in StL, but I think living in Chicago was what made me start loving crazy long, multimile walks–the streets and vistas and neighborhoods just keep going and going without interruption there, and I think the sheer scale of the city’s spaces pushes me to see how far I can go with nothing but my own power.

    I think I would have been a nondriver longer had I stayed up there–transit here don’t run too often or late, and that’s just how it is. I hope the legislators up there grow some sense so you don’t have to get a license, argh!


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