Introducing our USA Correspondent Jonathon Stalls!
Here at Pedestrian Space we recently launched a Global Walkability Correspondents Network, as a way to build solidarity among walkability advocates around the world and continue to create media on sustainable mobility and urbanism.
Jonathon bears a wealth of grassroots, community-oriented, practical advocacy tips for creating positive and needed change. Last month we were fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with him on 12 Days of Pedestrian Advocacy Tips.
He also is a pioneer in the use of digital media for pedestrian advocacy via multiple platforms. Visit his TikTok account @pedestriandignity to see how he connects storytelling, media documenting, organizing local walks and citizen engagement to raise visibility on critical issues of local mobility.
To say we are grateful to have Denver-based Jonathon on board as a correspondent as well as an advocacy ally, would be an understatement. Thank you for your presence in this emergent network Jonathon.
Read on for some of Jonathon’s thoughts as we launch this network.
I consider myself a ‘Walking Artist’. I move 8-15 miles a day through a wide variety of landscapes and mostly in and around the metro area of my home city of Denver, Colorado (U.S.). I care so much about the endless gifts and benefits of moving the way we are made to… the trees, the air, the sunsets, the movement, the clearing of stress and heavy thoughts, the blood flow, the creativity, the spontaneous encounters.
Through my Pedestrian Dignity project and beyond, I also unapologetically fight for, speak up for, and create around all that makes walking, using a wheelchair and taking the bus unsafe, impossible, unhealthy, oppressive, and daunting in car-centric systems/behaviors across the U.S.A.
I need to walk for my mental health and for my desire to be connected to others, to my deeper self, and to the natural world around me. I crave for all of us to be more, safely and comfortably, connected this way.
I live in Denver, Colorado but have spent and continue to spend significant stretches of time moving by foot across forests, towns, villages, countryside, cities, and more across the United States.
As someone primarily residing in Denver, CO, I see and experience so much devastation and disconnection from ongoing car-centric sprawl. We just keep spreading things out, assuming all have cars, all should have cars, and all will be well with cars as the main form of transportation for all our days. It is irresponsible regarding our health and future. It is fixed on unfaced histories and current practices of classism and racism. It is fixed on unchecked capitalism. It is toxic in nearly every category under the sun and it outrages me that so many (specifically public agencies, public officials, private developments, car-driving public) continue to protect it, defend it and accept it.
I will be representing to the best of my ability the U.S. considering the work I have done across the country, the amount of time I have spent walking across/through various parts of the country, and my connections to leaders, youth, and communities across the country.
Connection, health, community, belonging, earth care, justice, equity, healing, and creativity to start. It is human. It is intrinsic. It is inherent. It is our design, to be closer in proximity to one another, to the soil, streams, and trees, and to all the moves and stacks up inside our hearts and minds.
We cannot sustain (physically, socially, mentally, environmentally, communally) millions of single-occupant cars going from, as author Rebecca Solnit says so well, “one interior to the next“. We miss the gifts of colorful, wise, and wondrous nuance between moving people (by foot or on wheelchair), between people and planet (wind, fresh air, sunrises), and between our own inner workings (processing stress, letting go of heaviness, inspiring/opening neuropathways for creativity).
We also sustain systems and practices that leave entire populations negotiating their safety, mental health, and dignity every single day as they walk, roll or take the bus to work, to school, to appointments, and to get groceries. The inequities facing all who have no choice but to be walking, rolling, and using transit are dehumanizing, demoralizing, and shameful. Walkable/rollable communities aren’t just areas of study and best practice, they are direct pathways to our deeper, more connected, and more honest selves.
Jonathon Stalls 🏳️🌈 is a Walking Artist who spent 242 days walking across the United States in 2010 and has continued to move alongside thousands of people for thousands of miles. His artwork currently moves in the realms of pen and ink drawing, writing and poetry, storytelling with the Pedestrian Dignity campaign, economic and racial justice organizing, meditative practice, and creating/scouting long-distance walking routes. He founded Founded Walk2Connect in 2012, and is the author of the book, WALK – Slow Down, Wake Up & Connect at 1-3 Miles per Hour.
Visit Jonathon’s site online at Pedestrian Dignity
Read USA Correspondent Jonathon’s content here
Learn more about the Global Walkability Correspondents Network here