Let's begin with Biomapping. It's is a "tool for visualizing people's reactions to the external world." It was invented by Christian Nold, a London-based artist, and inspired by psychogeography, a core situationist theory and practice. But psychogeography, the study of the relationship between emotions and features of urban space, never left the limits of fun and games. It was a great idea, and even a deep one, but it failed to produce a school of professionals or a unified body of serious research. Psychogeography never became more than a 20th century form of flaneurie.

Biomapping, on the other hand, has real political, academic, architectural, and commercial potential—indeed, Nold had to copyright the concept because marketers were too quick to exploit it. Information about how people internally experience or feel certain parts of the city is not just beautiful but very useful.

To learn more about these potential uses, listen to this lecture by Nold. I'm also teaching a class at Hugo House this April that will incorporate Nold's findings into (hopefully) a new thinking about writing and the urban experience.

I always get emotional when I see a train pulling out of Columbia City Station...