About

I’m A Streetwalker (of sorts)
The images and essays on this site come mostly from walks and bike rides I have taken in cities around the world over the last fifteen years.  There are not a lot of images from the nature, nor are there portraits of people or the human form. My visual appetite is rather for man-made design and the world we have created, looking for compositions that contain beauty, nuances, quirky things contrasts, and other visual narratives.

I’ve grouped them into categories that help me make sense and find order in the world, categories that are highly personal, subjective, and very much a work in progress. And I wrote essays about these categories in greater detail in See For Yourself  which also contains hundreds of images and writings not found on this website.

Everyday objects and pedestrian subjects dominate my studies  – things not inherently pretty or beautiful on their own; but things turned into something compelling by the way they are arranged – how we compose a picture of them. It’s a perspective one neither experience neither at high speeds nor through the windshield of a car, and I am an advocate for a slower and more curious study of our urban environment.

Why Bother?
Looking at things closely has its own personal rewards. It keeps us present. It can amuse and entertain us. The optimist in me also believes that if we take the time to look more closely at our man-made world we may want to fix it up a bit. Many of our cities took a beating in 20th century as we encouraged people to flee the cities for the suburbs. These trends are being reversed in the 21st century, and most of us are very thrilled to see that many of our cities and communities are getting the special attention they deserve. There is an urban renaissance at work in many cities in the US and around the world.

Public Engagement
Why the focus on cities and public spaces? Simple: they are the only places where people of all ethnicities and income levels are welcome and on equal footing. They are where our democracy and humanity are measured. They define the degree to which we are a cultured civilization.
 Think about your favorite cities. Visualize them. They will likely have a lot of people of all ages sitting in parks, shopping from sidewalks, hanging out in street side cafes, riding bikes, picnicking in parks, or looking at art in public space. Conversely, the worst cities are those where public space is empty, or used to park cars, or worse, where public space is dangerous.
In our 20th century roll out to become the greatest consumer culture on the planet we enriched our private lives often at the expense our public lives.  Much of this was done inadvertently, and it is correctable. But it will take some focus and design attention to get it there.


See For Yourself

I recently completed a book: See for Yourself that deals with many of these interests. Signed copies with free shipping can be ordered here.
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PUBLIC BikesIn 2010 I founded PUBLIC a bike company with a mission is to help improve the quality of our public spaces and our public lives. On two wheels, we can look at the world a little more closely and have a little more fun. Sign up for the mailing list to get the beat on PUBLIC.
Any questions or comments you have, point them here.  I appreciate seeing how other people view the world and making friends with like-minded travelers.

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Rob Forbes