mit - Spaziergäng
Eugene was approached by the Marktgemeinde Lustenau, in far west Austria, to consult with the town on encouraging more walking and less driving.
So we are creating a free celebration of Lustenau in late summer 2021. Post-corona, there is a curiosity about getting out there again, to be social and active, but also looking at ways to live better, and learn from the pandemic about alternative ways to move forward. We will explore the soul of the place, inviting locals on storytelling tours all across the Gemeinde, with Eugene in discussion with local historians, students, architect, politicians, producers and migrants from all over the world.
This is an open and developing format, aiming to reach all different parts of the community. using interactive and participatory formats, the project is a longer term attempt to develop active mobility, along with the last year's FestiVelo, and events will run into next year, led by local people. It's not just tours, but schools workshops, a course to create future local walk leaders, presentations and a silly walks contest, plus networking party.
We invite everybody in Lustenau to develop their own responses to walking, so that this project has roots in the town. One of the local challenges is that many people choose to socialise in their gardens, rather than coming together in public space, and to support the local economy. Another is that the town is more designed for cars than people walking, partly because it is a long stretch north to south, rather than a more densely-populated town with a heart.
Some of the walk themes: balcony poetry tour, best new architecture, secret passages, midnight tour along the Alte Rhein to meet the youth, frontier walk (looking at borders of language, states, social barriers, political party divisions, generational tensions), world tour of lustenau migrants (chinese restaurant, mosque, massage centre, digital start-up and refugee housing), a recreation of the mass Jewish escape through a pipe into Switzerland in 1938, and an ecology walk with deer, buzzards, rabbits, butterflies. It is a charming place and i am excited about the concept and people involved.
Eugene comments, "Lustenau is a town where peole still say hallo to strangers, for no reason, including kids. A world of snowy mountains, of distinctive architecture (including its own school), and so many architects, of big footie clubs, colourful lace for Nigerian fashions, bouncy cute dialect, 19% green voters (above national average, and above Wien numbers), and an adventurous, philosophical Burgermeister. A place of big sky and secret passages, so much green space, shabby-chic gardens and rooves, the faded glory of some of the older houses, the smell of woodsmoke, spectacular cheese pies, lots of cocks and even some goats, storks and buzzards, stylish green street signs, river Rhein and Swiss smugglers, of Jewish escape and far too many cars. Lustenau is definitely a cat town, whereas Wien is a dog city. Our project is to bring people out on the streets, to share stories, to increase the sense of belonging, to fight climate change and build new networks, to celebrate Lustenau as it is now, and explore how it could be. Post-corona, many people have been thinking about how to live better and differently, and walking more is an easy choice to make, to benefit not just yourself but also your community. The climate crisis is more evident every year, and we all need to act to avoid catastrophic, irreversible change.
There are many imaginative and cute art ideas around the town, and this is definitely somewhere dreamy projects can go far, and be invested in."
Walking is an easy change to make in your life. All you need to do is put on your shoes, close your front door and see where the adventure takes you. Walk to work, to school, to meet friends, to the shops, or home from a party. It costs nothing, yet from a strategic, political level, it might be the most important way to live more ecologically, socially, to save money, get happier (driving is stressful), to be more creative, build your community and support the local economy. Most people choose to make a walk in nature, but it can be fascinating and useful to walk through your own neighbourhood, in social spaces, chatting to people you meet, and strangers, giving an opportunity to discuss architecture, local developments and gossip. Most of all, Eugene values walking as a space to reflect, problem-solve and dream. Join us for our own kind of Wanderlust.
Thanks to Gabi Hampson for the original inspiration and push to develop this concept. Every town needs a dynamic player like her!