Act Quick, Move Slow

A Simple Two-Step Guide to Urban Exploration

As we embark on this new publication, I invite you to get to know your city, your town, your neighborhood, your block. If you’ve been wanting to explore your surroundings but have been putting it off, I want to provide a two-step approach to make things easier.

Step 1: Act Quick.

Plan as much or as little as you want. You can go online and look for specific places to explore. You can plan a route, or you can just start walking and find out where your feet take you. There are all manner of approaches. Each as right as the other. The important thing is to go.

If it’s hot out, bring a water bottle and be ready to sweat. If it’s cold out, wear layers. Accept that it’s not going to be as climate-controlled as sitting on your couch, and you might just find that not only do you not mind it as much as you thought but you might even learn to embrace what the day provides, allowing the weather to be part of the magic of the experience.

Whatever you do, make today the day you say yes and get out there. Act quick.

Step 2: Move Slow.

Once you’re under way, the key is to move slow. Don’t drive around. Walk around. Explore your surroundings at a leisurely two or three miles an hour human pace rather than at a thirty-plus mile-an-hour blur. Use your senses. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Smell the air. Allow the stimuli to trigger memories and associations. Form attachments. Talk to people. Get to know the people you come across. It starts with something as simple as a smile, a wave, a nod, a “hello”. Maybe all you do is smile and say hello for months before having a conversation, but the mere act of acknowledging the other human forms a sort of bond that ties you to the person, place, and time.

This is a short article because it’s a simple message.

Act quick. Move slow.

Take the first step. Stop making excuses, and just get out there. You’ll thank yourself for it.

The group of writers we’ve assembled for this publication are truly incredible, and you will get something different from each one. More times than not, what you’ll get from me is conversations about the experience of the built environment. Or, as one of my readers once put it, my articles “sometimes are more directly focused on urban design, sometimes less so, and always exploring concepts that illuminate not just the field of urban design but virtually all aspects of life.”

From me to you, welcome to Resident Urbanist.

Anaiah Matthew is a Partner Writer for Resident Urbanist. He is also the author of The Walkist, which explores the experience of walking through the eyes of a city planner while touching on topics of philosophy, sports, psychology, hobbies, and more. In the words of the venerable Dr. Austin Johnson, author of Executive Counseling, The Walkist “combines the discipline of a scholar, the wisdom of experience, and the unforced poetry of someone fully present in the moment.” Anaiah lives and works in Austin, Texas.You can also find content from The Walkist on Instagram.

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