Autism & walking on soil/snow + 5-minute neighborhod lifestyle

My son has a moderate autism diagnosis. While I believe I am very attentive to how he engages with the city, nature, and built environment, I know there are probably many things I miss. 

Every now and then, I come across people who are working on issues related to studying and exploring the experience of people on the spectrum navigating their cities and communities. 

I always seek to cultivate a holistic understanding of the many issues of walkability and how different groups are affected (understanding that no group is characterized by one single perspective or experience but a myriad), and part of this includes the ongoing and extensive networking (that I also love so much). 

I look forward to developoing a much broader understanding of how diverse experiences of people on the spectrum lend insight to how we can design more inclusive towns and cities. 

Picture shows my son walking on the snow during a morning walk to school.  He always chooses to walk on soil (or in this case, snow) if it is possible


On another but related note, while living in Poland’s capital, we went from an extremely ‘big city life’, commuting to two different schools in two different districts other than our own.  While I love the dynamic flexibility of Warsaw’s public transportation system,  this chapter was really intensive with transfers, rush hour and keeping my two young ones safe throughout all the movement. 

When we shifted to schools within our neighborhood, the effect was pure liberation.  Mornings turned to having a bit more time to take it slow. Then the 5-minute walk to school – an absolute joy for me and I also see it in my children too- rather than the morning being a labored and intense experience we now have a pleasant ritual that also bounds us closer to neighborhood life. 

After dropping my youngest off I sometimes walk to the bakery to grab a quick bite and a coffee and might also pop into the vegetable store to get some goods for the day’s meal later.  It’s all within a 5-minute walk of our home.  

I post on the 15-minutecity a lot, but within the experience of our time in Warsaw, we have gone down to the 5-minute neighborhood lifestyle in terms of our daily micro-neighborhood experience. To me, this is the heart of the urban experience.  To have the expanse of the city to access for diverse needs but to have the liberty and freedom to also get what I need on the micro-scale, in my neighborhood.

Later this month I will begin a self-directed ‘Artist Residency in Motherhood’ in which I look forward to getting into all these topics and experiences in much more detail and with a photographic and deeper narration focus.