Walking is an immersive and multi-sensory form of bodily movement. According to Edmund Husserl and other phenomenologists, we understand our body in relation to the world when we practice the mundane act of walking. While we walk, our bodies engage with the surrounding space and we intimately sense, perceive and think a place. A walk lab makes use of these qualities.
Contrary to a guided tour, where the participants mainly listen to the explanations of the guide, the participants of a walk lab are invited to explore a spatial environment with all senses and to share their experiences with the group. A walk lab may focus on observation and discussion, it may also contain performative elements and small experiments in public space.
A walk lab is usually dedicated to certain characteristics of public space which we tend to overlook while we rush from A to B in our everyday life. To walk attentively means to slow down, to pay attention to the surroundings, to explore individual impressions of the walked space. In addition to site-specific walk labs, the walk may also revolve around contemporary urban issues such as pedestrian-friendly mobility or urban biodiversity.