Walkoo: App Supports Urbanites
French start-up Walkoo is developing an app to encourage urbanites to slow down and explore their city on foot.
Users create a profile detailing their interests, with the app then providing personalised suggestions based on their tastes. The app, which is expected to launch in March 2018, provides city maps featuring off-the-beaten-track destinations – from street art corners and secret green rooftops to organic grocery stores and restaurants.
Most importantly, Walkoo users are expected to walk to these places. Using its WalkooMeter, the app measures the distance covered during these walks and rewards users with points that can be converted into gifts from Walkoo's partners, such as a free coffee or treat from a café.
Walkoo's idea is based on the philosophy of the Slow Movement, which advocates a less-is-more approach to life, focusing on the quality of life rather than the speed at which it's lived (see also Essentialist Communities). Walkoo's goal is to help people adjust their lifestyle and take the time to enjoy their city's unique character.
According to Walkoo, urban dwellers "are living the fast life instead of the good life", with research suggesting that they're more prone to depression compared to those living in rural environments (Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, 2016). The company explains that "the city contains all the antidotes to the poisons of hectic life – all you need is to find them".