Category Archives: meta

Geo-Local, Internet

Sometimes I wonder how people used word-of-mouth recommendations for restaurants and stores before the web. Sure we had great newspapers (and with the Washington Post we still do), but when you’re transplanted into a strange town where you don’t know anyone word-of-mouth just doesn’t happen.

I ended up in Glover Park not just for the rent, but probably because Wikipedia gave me the clues that the location was right. Google Maps helped me find an apartment within walking distance to the grocery store. This move would not have worked so well for me only 10 years ago.

Once I moved in, I could use HopStop to find the right Bus/Rail times.  Later I found the WMATA’s site worked a little better.  I found out the sort of places other locals would like using Brightkite.  I traded in for an iPhone with GPS at the end of my contract.  I use Brightkite even more.  Yelp is still pretty invaluable for me.

And since I know that I could live here for another several years and still not find everything, I’m glad we have the right tools through the Geo-local internet.  Wired is right; GPS+internet is changing how we take part in a community.

Pedestrians Welcome

As I recent transplant from the Midwest, I was ready to fully embrace urban life in DC.  I sold my car and traded it in for a SmarTrip card, downgrading from a 2-bedroom home to a 1-bedroom apartment that was literally half the space for twice the rent.  I would live close to work, school, and all the nightlife a bus transfer could afford; it was time to live in a truly walkable community.

I settled on an apartment in Glover Park, where I am never more than half an hour from anywhere and only a 5 minute walk to groceries, the bank, hardware, a pharmacy, dining establishments, watering holes, and most importantly the MetroBus.  This neighborhood has been changing (and quickly), like so many others doubtlessly have over the last decade, reflecting the national trends towards reestablishing our urban centers.

Everyday I found myself spending more time in this place, giving me a true sense of belonging to a community.  But I am also determined to discover the community outside my neighborhood.

To help give order to these adventures around Washington DC is Pedestrian Capable, a blog which will reinterpret what many longtime residents may instantly recognize as fixtures in their neighborhoods.  In my previous residence I helped organize an online magazine/blog with multiple contributors who were likewise discovering their own community for the first time; an endeavor I would like continue in the DC community.  Think of this as an opportunity to discover DC through the lens of the observer and a chance for us to talk about those places and people in DC so well established that other local media would hardly have a news angle to cover.

They say the best way to explore a city is on foot, where neighborhoods rise and fall as blocks, leaving behind clues to their history like watermarks on the shore.  You can miss a lot of DC moving around the beltway, and find so much more on foot.  And that is exactly what we will find together in those areas that are Pedestrian Capable in DC.