Robot Flâneur Allows For Interactive World Vacations From Home

Robot Flâneur Allows For Interactive World Vacations From Home

A new website pulls from Google Street View images to provide virtual walking tours of all the world's major cities.

Laura Feinstein
  • 16 june 2011

According to the dictionary and other sources, the term flâneur has the basic meanings of “stroller,” “lounger,” “saunterer,” and “loafer,” and comes from the French verb flâner, and means “to stroll.” While this may seem like a less than romantic way of describing the urban pedestrian, writer/poet Charles Baudelaire brought the term to the forefront of urban consciousness when he developed a derived meaning of flâneur as that of “a person who walks the city in order to experience it.” Updating this concept for the digital age, the website Robot Flaneur (an explorer for Google Street View conceived by James Bridle) allows users the experience of a casual stroll around famed cities such as Paris, Berlin, and London right from the comfort of their own desk. Though simplistic, its voyeuristic capabilities prove addictive as you  find yourself a stoling down Broadway in NYC to coasting past the Tiergarten in Berlin. For those of you with shorter attention spans, new images are refreshed every 30 seconds, with the option to zoom in, zoom out, or skip around.

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