The scale of Shanghai is both immense and very manageable. It is very hip to these days to explore one’s immediate neighborhood, walking the block, as Alexandra Horowitz does so eloquently in On Looking.
A block is not very far, as this wikipedia description makes amply clear:
A city block (in most US cities) is between 1⁄16 and 1⁄8 mi (100 and 200 m). In Manhattan, the measurement “block” usually refers to a north-south block, which is 1⁄20 mi (80 m). Sometimes people living in cities with a regularly spaced street grid will speak of long blocks and short blocks. Within a typical large North American city, it is often only possible to travel along east-west and north-south streets, so travel distance between two points is often given in the number of blocks east-west plus the number north-south (known to mathematicians as the Manhattan Metric).
I decided to explore my city from this perspective, not walking but running, and find out what running a couple of blocks in my Shanghai neighborhood boils down to. Turned out to be 25k.
What these blocks are within the larger picture is visible in the below zoom-out which shows Shanghai within the outer ringroad:
Looks minuscule, taking those 25k into account, but it isn’t really. The imagery in a previous post when I didn’t try to make the most of the immediate neighborhood, but to cover as much ground as possible in one big circuit, is the best reminder of that. Unlike many others I meet, I feel all of the city is my neighborhood, some of it just takes a bit longer to get to.
Sounds help to cover distances. Unless you’re a John Cage at heart, the city itself doesn’t always provide something sustaining. So I often run with music. Nothing in particular, whatever the shuffle algorithm comes up with really.