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Category: Thinkwalks Basics

Evidence of Thinkwalks

January 27th, 2011

A reporter asked me yesterday why it’s even important to argue about evidence of a fresh water lake at Laguna Dolores, or to pinpoint the founding location of SF Mission Dolores. The sharp questioner, Hadley Robinson, is from Mission Local, the news outlet and laboratory for UC Berkeley Journalism graduate students.

Aside from my usual, “Let’s understand how the natural landscape affected our existence as a city,” I used the opportunity to proclaim the benefits of arguing and evaluating evidence. Public democracy and human planning for the future of our species [...]

It’s Fun to Discover (that I was wrong)

December 9th, 2010

This post is a confession—actually a whole confessional litany. I told untruths. Yes. Me. I know, I know: never trust me again! I’ll list them in a moment so you can adjust what you learned on one of my tours accordingly.

Friend and Thinkwalks volunteer Nancy Botkin told me the other day that it’s strangely easy to change my mind about an “objective fact.” All you need to do is give me careful evidence of something that contradicts what I used to adamantly believe. I flip from saying I’m sure the [...]

Storm book project now a definitive Yes!

October 16th, 2010

The Thinkwalks blog is going into full swing today. At least for a time, likely many months, most content here will be related to the Storm Book I’ve begun researching.

My intent is to publish articles and a prospectus booklet, eventually extruding a book on the topic. I hope I can nudge The Great Storm and Flood from obscurity into public awareness with some serious research and writing. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled upon this incredible little-known topic. Of the professionals I recently consulted in related fields, few have [...]

Volunteering with Thinkwalks

June 23rd, 2010

In the recent past, a number of folks have generously volunteered their time to help with publicity, research, social networking, design and other aspects of Thinkwalks. If you have an idea of how you’d like to help, please let me know.

Some of the clear needs at the moment are for people to help compile information either from bibliographies or from very old news articles on the Great Storm and Flood. And to distribute (to cafés) the wonderful flyers Martina D’Alessandro designed in her volunteer gig. Also, there’s a volunteer design [...]

Shaping SF tours are rich with analysis

June 14th, 2010

Chris Carlsson, who leads the bike tours for Shaping SF, is one well-read guy. He understands so many of the specifics about work-related politics. His ideas were formed from reading books that were written back when labor organizer was a radical term. And it seems he’s read everything published since then.

On a Shaping SF tour, I’ve learned such dramatic little morsels as where the co-op food movement came from and disappeared to, where the dirt came from that filled in Mission Bay, and why the Marin Headlands weren’t developed into [...]

Bike Tours

June 2nd, 2010

How to prepare for your bike tour

Thinkwalks bike tours are never strenuous. We travel slowly between nearby stops and never ride steep hills. I’m a hill wimp. That’s why I love the Wiggle so much!

Before coming to a ride, you’ll need to be sure your tires are firm and your bicycle is functioning reasonably smoothly. If you need assistance, please get in touch. If you need a bicycle and are between 5’2″ and 6’2″, please ask me about my loaner bike.

Thinkwalks Tours by bicycle

Outside Lands Bike Cruise
Social Justice [...]

Water Walking Tour description

June 1st, 2010

This is the nerdiest of the standard Thinkwalks. Three and a half hours of walking on water. No sinking.

This year’s version of the water tour focuses on the history of the Dolores Creek watershed, above the Mission District.

We’ll examine water’s artful sculpting of our hills and shorelines based partly on this book chapter by your Thinkwalks guide. Recent research has cast doubt on the existence of the lake (Laguna Manantial) that is featured in that article. On the tour, we’ll discuss the evidence for and against, with an open [...]

Walk the Wiggle Tour description

June 1st, 2010

This is the quintessential Thinkwalk, mixing all themes from the other tours: creeks, urban planning, social history, murals and everything else! Curious neighbors, visitors and local cyclists alike will love this two hour tour.

The Wiggle itself is now so popular it’s rapidly becoming SF’s human-powered answer to the iconic U.S. highway Route 66. The popular Wiggle bike route, zig-zagging to avoid the hills, is also a walking route—and has been for almost 5,000 years.

When you follow the Wiggle bike route, through the Lower Haight, did you know that you’re moseying [...]

Social Justice Mural Tour description

June 1st, 2010

Of all the Thinkwalks tours, this one is best for general audiences, including visitors. It’s also the most often requested for those wishing to customize a tour.

As a public mural organizer for more than a decade, I bring insider knowledge of the mural scene. And as a community journalist with an interest in radical social trends, I can shed light on the interplay between the street art scene and the political scene in San Francisco.

I worked with top-notch muralist Mona Caron for twelve years, after enticing her to become a [...]

Outside Lands Bike Cruise description

June 1st, 2010

How Golden Gate Park reflects the big changes in society

Once a field of dunes, Golden Gate Park was built on a swath of sand called the Outside Lands. An ambitious garden the size of New York’s Central Park replaced the dunes, partly to create a refuge from city stresses of the Industrial Age and partly to boost land investment profits.

The Park’s Music Concourse was the site of the first electric light displayed publicly in San Francisco, the first childrens’ playground in the world…and many peculiar statues. The Park also [...]