Moving around freely diminishes sensory awareness, arousal by places or the people in those places. Any strong visceral connection to the environment threatens to tie the individual down. This was the premonition at the end of The Merchant of Venice: to move freely, you can't feel too much. Today, as the desire to move freely has triumphed over the sensory claims of the space through which the body moves, the modern mobile individual has suffered a kind of tactile crisis: motion has helped desensitize the body. This general principle we now see realized in cities given over to the claims of traffic and rapid individual movement, cities filled with neutral spaces, cities which have succumbed to the dominant value of circulation.
Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization, Richard Sennett