I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Back in Sydney I had 10 to 45 minutes commuting either on the train or on the bus, so that was how I cleared my morning emails and caught up with friends in the evening. In Zürich I drove everywhere, the only stroll I was taking was to and from the French school which was 3 minutes tops.
Here in Oslo, my office is located 10 minutes walk from the school so I find myself checking my emails and Facebook a lot on the way. I believe that in another big city like New York or Paris, you can’t do it, here’s why:
- Low density in the streets of Oslo means there is hardly anyone in the street so there is little chance you bump into another pedestrian what ever the time of day (except for the Christmas Market on Karl Johan Gate during the week end)
- Little traffic: there aren’t that many cars in the part of the city where I live, and yet it’s very central. So I can happily take a quick look and cross the street. Like in Zürich, cars stop at the pedestrian crossing to let you cross.
- Very few dog poo. Although the few people I walk by are dog walkers, there aren’t that many dog poo we need to be mindful of
- Safety: there’s a lot of jewelry and now smartphone snatching in the streets of Paris. Here it feels pretty safe, like in Switzerland
- High Mobilisation: Norway is pretty connected through Mobile in particular public transport tickets through Ruter# so you do tap on your phone on your way to the bus, train or tram station
- Connected Gloves: the local Groupon site has been offering warm gloves that allow you to use the phone with 3 fingers on each hand. See my pink pair – no pun intended- scroll down halfway through the linked post
However since I started this post, two things happened and a third excellent point popped up in Facebook comments:
- It’s getting darker quite soon so when I leave the office at 4.30pm it’s pitch black BD if I’m not careful I can either step in a big puddle or get a tree branch in the face
- there’s been some snow and ice. You have to watch your steps and walk like a penguin. Less cool 🙂
- Electric car, which are becoming the norm in Oslo, are so quiet that you have to be extra careful when you cross the roads
But the isn’t the real question: should I text and walk at the same time anyway?