2 minute read

The Ground We Stand On: Saruhan Mosler

Saruhan Mosler walks to work and creates her own sense of place

I walk to work at least three times a week; it takes me 40 minutes to go to Writtle University College in Chelmsford where I work as a lecturer.

The first 10-15 minutes is in the urban terrain; my walk starts on a busy main street jammed with cars and continues through the neighbourhood where I do the school run. At this point I can still choose between walking or car, and the decision comes quick as the park lures me to walk in.

So I cross another busy main street and continue towards the river and the park. Every time I step into the park, leaving the streets, noise and polluted air to the green, tranquil, slow landscape; it feels as I enter a parallel realm – separated by the tree cover and the river.

So every time I am on the path, I become one of the ingredients of this landscape as Lippard elaborates in the Lure of the Local, where I readjust my senses and body to inhabit in this tranquil realm. The rest of my walk follows the river corridor, along the floodplain through the fields and remnants of ancient woodlands until I reach the college grounds.

I prefer walking because it is the perfect way of keeping me mentally and physically well, balancing and recalibrating my brain through the rhythm and the pace. As Gehl explains, it is a goal-oriented walk, experiencing the world on foot, giving me the flexibility to control, create opportunities and encountering every time something new. As walking becomes a habitual behaviour as my daily commuting pattern, I create a stronger sense of place through my walking route.

During these walks, I realise certain characteristics of the landscape that I wouldn’t normally get a sense in a vehicle. Topography and the land form, even the slight changes in the elevation is legible, in Lynch’s terms where I can read the heights and the edges, see the landmarks and the nodes, even the sound marks in the landscape such as the water flowing faster after the rain. I enjoy the experiential qualities of my walk – observing wildlife and the seasonal changes the landscape unfolds for me; foraging berries at the end of summer and watching the autumn colours are beautiful, refreshing and inspiring me for the rest of a long day.