Thursday, August 22, 2013

The One Thousand Urban Miles Challenge

Between 1896 and 1900 the Irish naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger (1865 – 1953) walked a total of 5000 miles (approximately 20 miles a day for 50 days of field work each year) in the production of his monograph Irish Topographical Botany (1901).  In the coming year I am proposing to walk a thousand mile in the same meditative, attuned, way that Praeger did, but instead of tramping around the spongy ground of Irish bogs and mountainsides, I am proposing to do so in Chicago.  Certainly some of this walking will be in "natural" areas around Chicago (including several of our 100 sites areas) but for the most part these excursions will be to several Chicago neighborhoods that interest me.

A number of colleagues at DePaul and friends have expressed an interest in doing the same. Some will do so in Chicago, some in other cities. If this intrigues you enough to give it a go, let me know. It might be an interesting collective project.  I'm starting a blog to keep track of our progress.  You are free to share progress reports on this site.  More on this soon.


  1. Interesting idea, do you have some goals in mind, a monograph as well?

  2. Well the primary goal is the walking itself....walking for the sake of walking and experiencing what happens along the way. But being a writerly type, I suspect I'll want to do something with the record. If enough people are game for this, and have interesting things to say about it then perhaps an edited volume of some sort. But that's getting too far ahead!