Nate Berg is a freelance reporter and a former staff writer for CityLab. He lives in Los Angeles.
A playful and silly take on the challenges of navigating an urban setting blind.
"Extreme Walks" is a goofy short film that illustrates the difficulties faced by the various types of pedestrians who may have some disability or limited mobility.
Created by Greek filmmakers Agnes Sklavos and Stelios Tatakis, the short turns navigating a city into a sort of video game, with points awarded for successful steps and points taken away for encountering hazards. They introduce three characters, representing three of the less considered types of users of the street: a mom with a kid and a stroller, a man with a bad leg and a crutch, and a blind woman. They choose the blind woman – who's given the crude moniker "Night Vision" – and her task is to negotiate her way down an Athens sidewalk.
Her trip down the block highlights some of the challenges that face blind pedestrians, from poorly trimmed street trees to illegally parked cars. [Note the Athens sidewalk paving, which seems to have bumped up lines along the entire block specifically added to aid those with limited or no vision.]
The film's not likely to take home too many awards, but it does bring some attention to the fact that sidewalks and streets have a variety of users, and what's safe for some could pose major problems for others.