Interactive Activity: Your City Soundwalks

Interactive activities invite Book Club members to engage more deeply with Arrival City and contribute their own experiences and stories to the Club’s reading. With our City Soundwalk and City Photowalk activities, readers have the opportunity to submit their own sound recordings and photosets exploring “arrival” in their own city. Soundwalk and Photowalk submissions will be posted in galleries here on the City Builder Book Club blog. All are welcome to participate.

Your City Soundwalks

We asked Book Club members to share the sounds of their cities by creating audio recordings of 2 minutes or less that demonstrate the auditory sense of place in their neighbourhood or city. Here’s what we have so far.

A story about arrival, transit(ions), and institutions, from Baltimore

Lindsay Donnellon, a new arrival to Baltimore, MD, had this to say about her Soundwalk:

“Arriving at the Enoch Pratt Free Library central location to the sound of the bell from the Baltimore Basilica just across Cathedral Street. In the library patrons are discussing the availability of sough after materials, are busy using the computers mostly in what you would expect in the library—silence except to an occasional cough or page turning. The liveliest sounds of the recording come from Baltimore Penn Station on an evening where all outbound trains were delayed, without further information. I arrived to Baltimore via Penn Station as many likely do, the library is one of the first things I visit in a new city—often packed with maps, local information and countless other resources (free computer use, language classes, student help, free income tax filing for low income earners).”

A story about the organized chaos in São Paulo’s Estação da Luz

Beatriz Vicino, an architect and educator based in São Paulo, shared this story about her Soundwalk:

“This is the sound of the transfer zone inside the Estação da Luz, metro and train station, in downtown São Paulo (that actually also presents the Portuguese Language Museum on the upper floors). You can hear the sound of the metro company warnings, the different flow of each lane along the way, and how people are worried about just walking and not doing anything else. Enjoy this organized chaos!”

A story about the coming and going of arrival communities along Toronto’s Bloor Street

Rachel Lissner and Claire Nelischer, two staff members at the Centre for City Ecology, created this Soundwalk from Toronto.

“Dispatch from Toronto, ON. Walking Bloor Street from Ossington to Bathurst – historically home to Portuguese and Korean communities – weaving through subway stations, dog parks, supermarkets, and coworking spaces to reveal the ongoing change and increasing complexity of the neighbourhood.”

A story about the sounds, stories, and feelings that arise when moving between cities, from New York City

While this recording wasn’t created specifically for the City Builder Book Club’s City Soundwalk activity, it fits nicely in with our expanding understanding of “arrival”. Created by one of our readers, Nick Kaufmann, as part of a The Story Behind a Question workshop at the MIT Community Innovators Lab, this audio recording begins with a simple question: “What are you listening to when you move around–or between–cities?”. The story that follows speaks of a different process of “arrival”: that of arriving in a familiar place daily, a process that, with the right soundtrack, can feel like a new experience each day. Listen to the full story below.

Share the sounds of your our city

There’s still time to submit your Soundwalk. We’ll keep adding your submissions to our City Soundwalk Playlist and posting them to the blog throughout our reading of Arrival City.

If you’re interested in submitting your own City Soundwalk, you can find more details, examples, and an activity guide here.

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