Friday, September 28, 2012

Let a mobile app help you be an urban flâneur

(Image found on  GetLostBBot )

In an article by Catherine de Lange in The New Scientist, “Let's get lost: Apps that help you wander to happiness”, she mentions several apps for your mobile that can assist you in your efforts to be an urban flâneur.  (To see the full article, you must register and subscribe to The New Scientist.  It can also be obtained if you have access to online databases at public or university libraries.) Her comment on being an urban  flâneur might  also be of interest to my readers.

Here are a sampling of app links to help you be an urban flâneur:
This ‘bot’ examines your regular patterns and then suggests new places to visit, breaking up your routine.  It does require that you be a FourSquare user.
If others have Highlight around you, you can see their profiles and maybe strike up a conversation. Although, this may be a little bit too personal for many.

This app searches through social sites and finds interesting things near you.

A less high tech approach would be to pick random places on Google Earth app on your mobile or use another navigation device (such as TomTom) within a city and then go to the places you have selected.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The urban flâneur view of urban decay: Detroit

Urban decay is found in all cities.  When a urban flâneur views or photographs abandoned or derelict buildings, it is not a view of a building, observed as a meaningless object, as a structure that should be considered as a blemish on the urban landscape or as a location for a new structure.  S(he views the underlying text of the structure and marvels at the serendipity of its beauty.   

While rambling around the Internet, I found some interesting websites, some having exquisite photographs of urban decay.  In this blog entry, I decided to concentrate on  those blog/web sites related to Detroit-the ‘poster child of urban decay.’ In the future, I will feature other sites with photographs of urban decay. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

The technique of being a Suburban Flâneur (revised 15 September 2012)

(This image was found within an interesting piece, "Unit 1: A Crisis of Place and the Alternative of the New Urbanism" , on New Urbanism Online.)

One of the defining aspects of an urban flâneur is the activity of strolling down streets, stopping in cafes, observing people and thoughtfully contemplating the totality of the present urban environment that sh(e is immersed. This is usually accompanied by note writing and perhaps photographs.  To an urban flâneur, the urban environment is multi-layered and  not just a collection of houses, shops, streets, or factories, but a dynamic entity in which people conduct their lives and experience the world outside of them.
In our present age, suburbs are now a significant part of all major cities in the world, developed and developing.  Yet, they are often overlooked being overshadowed by the central city, which often holds more interest due to its diversity, compactness, history and dynamics.  Should we consider the suburbs as unworthy of the flâneur’s attention?  No, unless we want the concept of being a flâneur to be anachronistic and restricted to the urban core and oblivious to the modern urban world.  

As previously mentioned, one of the major distinctions of being an urban flâneur is the aspect of strolling or walking aimlessly.  In suburban areas, walking can be possible, but difficult because the suburban scale has defined by the automobile. Therefore to adapt to this different environment, the suburban flâneur has to drive ‘aimlessly’ to observe the suburb from the perspective of a driver (auto-flâneurism) and also stop when something catches his/her attention.  In places that have public transportation, this can be accomplished by observing the urban fabric from the vehicle (preferably a bus or tram) and then picking a stop and  getting off to explore a suburban particular area.  It should be noted that one can observe only people at stations (which might be of some interest) if travelling in an underground trains, but panorama of the suburbs as in a vehicle on the surface will be lost.

The traditional urban flâneur approach is altered in the suburbs, with vehicles, buildings and the physical landscape being blurred into a ‘kaleidoscope’ of images in the consciousness of the flâneur due to the perspective of being contained an automobile or public transportation, instead of walking. In an interesting article, worthy of further inspection by my blog readers, “Taking the flâneur for a spin to the suburbs: The auto-flâneur and a way of looking at the subject in suburban culture” by in the online journal /seconds Paul O’Neill expounds on this experience:
Looking from the inside (interior of the automobile) to the outside (exterior to the automobile) created a perceptional distance between physical body space inside the car and the landscape space occupied by objects by the roadside. Through the frame of the windscreen, a new mode of spectatorship and seeing was at play; one which allowed a certain visual command over objects and images without actually having a physical relationship with them. Structures of perception work with the colour and contrast of the roadside images and the distance of objects from the body as it is in motion.

When the concept of being a flâneur was developed, personal automobiles had not made their appearance.  However, the overall concept and technique of being an urban flaneur, can be adapted to suburban experience.  The surface banality of the suburb often conceals the interesting aspects of suburban life and its fabric.  As the suburbs change due to structural forces, the present suburban life should be observed and documented by photographs and writing.  The simple technique, as described early, is a portal into the suburban environment.

As discussed in previous blog entries, the methodology of flâneurism is appropriate for urban planners (see "How to be an urban flâneur and city planner"), urban geographers, photographers, urbanists, writers, or self-proclaimed urban flâneur.  The observations from the flâneur experience can be interpreted in numerous and creative ways.  An excellent example of the modern flâneur methodology can be found in the article "Barcelona 2004: A "Redeemed" Flâneur’s Report" in Urbana: Urban Affairs and Public Policy and also found in a edited book compiled of selected articles from the online journal in The Geography, Politics, and Architecture of Cities: Studies in the Creation and Complexification of Culture (McAdams, Michael A. ,  Ivani Vassoler-Froelich , & Jesus Treviño-Cantú , editors) published by The Edwin Mellen Press.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Consider advertising on this blog

Is your business or organisations involved in creative endevors that highlight the vitality of the city?

Consider advertising on this blog.

My blog entries are provocative, timely and ‘go beyond the pale.’   All posts are original, not spun versions of entries on related webpages or blogs.

The audience for this blog is varied: urban planners, academicans, photgraphers, writers and the general public. It is for those who view the city as more than a collection of building and people and see an underlying sub-text and deconstruct urbanism to see a deeper meaning.

I can offer a $10 per day rate per blog to place your logo and a link to your company. A weekly discount of $50 per week per blog can be applied if you pay by the week.  Monthly rates are $200 with one blog entry per month highlighting your company or organizations activities. Annual rates are negotiable.  No contracts are required.   If not satisfied; you can withdraw your payments.

Payments can be made via PayPal to, 

For further information, please contact me at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Photo Contest Entry #1

Daniel Boon sent thèse two photos . Photo #1  is from Brazil , Photo #2 is from Cuba. Photo #3 is from Brazil ( a favela near some upscale housing.)

 Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Thank you very much Daniel for the first entry for the contest of hopefully many to come.

Comments are welcome. Also, the number of comments (exluding mine) will help determine the winner.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Urbana: Urban Affairs and Public Policy is now listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Urbana: Urban Affairs and Public Policy is now listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ.)

Please consider publishing in Urbana: Urban Affairs and Public Policy if have manuscripts that have an urban focus.

 Urbana: Urban Affairs and Public Policy is a peer reviewed, multidisciplinary open-access scholarly journal focusing on urban issues at an international level, exploring all aspects of cities and urbanization including urban planning, economics, history, politics, international relations and literature.

If you have questions about your manuscript before you submit it, or need further information about the submission process please contact Jesús A. Treviño C. at   or Michael A. McAdams at .

 Please submit your manuscript to either of the editors, Jesús A. Treviño C. at   or Michael A. McAdams at as a Word attachment. The guidelines for the manuscript are found within the webpage under the tab Manuscript Submission

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Did you find this site interesting?

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are you an Urban Flâneur ? Consider submitting your photos of your wandering around the city for a contest.

(image located at StKildaFlâneur)

Are you an  Urban Flâneur?

Do you:
wander around the city,
sit in cafes;
speculate about people and their lives in the city;
see the meaning in urban landscapes;
love all parts of the city--even its decaying parts;
revel in urban life;
and see its complexity beyond superficiality? 

Then, you are an Urban Flâneur!
If you still are not sure , go this description of the 'new' Urban Flâneur at StKildaFlâneur.

Why be a lone Urban Flâneur  Send me your pictures of your walks around a city with comments, your name and e-mail address. Videos will not be accepted at this time.  This will be another contest if this photo collection is successful.

All photographs can be sent to
Please, do not send any over 1 Mb.

I will post all photographs  that are within the broad concept of this website.

On  1 November, 2012, the top five photos will be given a prize of a custom designed t-shirt based on the number of individual comments given to each photo. Any ties will be decided by the blog author.

Followers encouraged, donations appreciated

For those who are visiting this blog for the first time, you may want to follow future blog entries that I might publish.   Blog entries are published at least twice a week.

Donations to the blog are also appreciated for compensation to the blog author for the time spent in research and writing of the blog entries.

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