Echoing earlier posts about how to learn about a suburb and next steps in learning about a suburb, I recently gave a talk that included what I learned through regular walks in my suburban neighborhood. With several walks a week, here is what I could learn:
-Marking the changing of seasons through different signs in nature (from flowers blooming to lawns mowed frequently to changing leaves) as well as seasonal decorations.
-Finding out where water collects after a rain.
-Attending to the various children playing on the playground.
-Hearing birds and seeing animals.
-Viewing the front foyers and rooms of numerous homes.
-Recognizing the neighborhood dogs and joggers.
-Watching various sports teams (mainly baseball and tennis) and individuals practice in the park.
-Observing numerous small interactions between families and friends.
-Noting the growth of several gardens of various sizes.
-Tracking the angle of the sun at different points in the year.
-Wondering at the limited number of children outdoors.
-Having some sense of what people or vehicles are regular in the neighborhood.
All of this would be hard to learn through public records, Google Street View, or driving through the neighborhood.
(Missing from the above list? Encounters with humans is limited as a pedestrian, even though I live on the street. An occasional greeting might be passed but it does not often go past that.)