chapter  2
15 Pages

Seeing the Need

Urban Outreach as Sensory Walking
WithTom Hall, Robin James Smith

In ‘Seeing the Need: Urban Outreach as Sensory Walking’, Tom Hall and Robin Smith team up to lead us on an urban patrol in Cardiff. Their chapter reports on the work of outreach and street care in the city, showing how a small team of council workers, whose job it is to make repeated tours through the centre of the city, day and night, locate and assist ‘vulnerable’ adults who may otherwise struggle to access mainstream health and social services. The work of outreach is performed as a repeated patrolling of public, commercial and neglected space in and around the city centre, with eyes and ears open for signs of need and difficulty. The aim is always to discern and uncover, but clients are often hard to find, riddled in among the busy, commonplace cityscape. Outreach, as a mode of urban, pedestrian exploration requires a particular attuning of the senses, in which motion and attention combine to glean clues from the urban environment.