Tuesday, March 01, 2005

idealizing our street..

I am very impressive with this week's reading. Especially, Goss' analysis of the contemporary retail built environment is very inspiring me. I have felt that the contemporary shopping malls become pseudo-community or miniature of city. Moreover, according to the Goss' analysis, the street in the shopping malls becomes "an idealized social space free, by virtue of private property, planning, and strict control, from the inconvenience of the weather and the danger and pollution of the automobile, but most important from the terror of crime associated with today' s urban environment." However, I think that this finding ironically proves us how important it is to make our streets safe and liable. According to Jane Jacobs, "streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city, are its most vital organs." Therefore, "to keep the city safe is a fundamental task of a city's streets and its sidewalks." Regardless of our personal taste and preference, we have to make our community safe in order to live our everyday life. The idealized street in the shopping malls can not replace our streets on which we live together. It seems conspicuous that as people try to escape themselves from their reality through the experience of pseudo-community or street, their dirty and dangerous streets continues to threaten their everyday life. Which is more important?

5 comments:

Chris said...

I like the idea that Goss cites of shopping malls being liquid space that is the physical analog of the TV experience. Likewise, in the sanitized environment malls offer, they represent the constructed, commercial response to the "mean world" outlook that TV produces in chronic viewers.

Mark said...

I think Umaysay raises an interesting point, in the battle to provide civic spaces to a society hungry (?) for community it appears the private sector is far more capable of creating exceptable spaces than the public sector. Are private developers "sucking the life blood" from American society by creating these quasi-civic spaces or are they filling a market niche left vacant by the public sector's lack of support for such places.

I am drawn to a recent instance of a Madison community that was struggling to purchase new playground equipment for their local park. If they waited for the city, it would take 8 years for the equipment to be purchased due to budget constraints and red tape. To expedite the process the community created a non-profit fundraising arm that accomplished the same goal in under a year by soliciting private donors.

Looking at the amount of families frolicking at West Town Mall in the childrens' play area I wonder if they're there because their civic government has failed in providing safe locations for their family to play as opposed to family's playing in the mall prior to the lack of civic spaces.

Not sure if that's clear but I'll stop now.

Mark said...

I think Umaysay raises an interesting point, in the battle to provide civic spaces to a society hungry (?) for community it appears the private sector is far more capable of creating exceptable spaces than the public sector. Are private developers "sucking the life blood" from American society by creating these quasi-civic spaces or are they filling a market niche left vacant by the public sector's lack of support for such places.

I am drawn to a recent instance of a Madison community that was struggling to purchase new playground equipment for their local park. If they waited for the city, it would take 8 years for the equipment to be purchased due to budget constraints and red tape. To expedite the process the community created a non-profit fundraising arm that accomplished the same goal in under a year by soliciting private donors.

Looking at the amount of families frolicking at West Town Mall in the childrens' play area I wonder if they're there because their civic government has failed in providing safe locations for their family to play as opposed to family's playing in the mall prior to the lack of civic spaces.

Not sure if that's clear but I'll stop now.

Linda said...

it does seem that we have lost the political will in this country to provide safe civic spaces. It's easier to let the Mallsters do it for "us" to keep "them" out. As Chris wrote, it must be Gerbner's theory in action - the less safe we feel, the more we are willing to function in commercial spaces where our freedoms are exchanged for the feeling of safety.

Linda said...

it does seem that we have lost the political will in this country to provide safe civic spaces. It's easier to let the Mallsters do it for "us" to keep "them" out. As Chris wrote, it must be Gerbner's theory in action - the less safe we feel, the more we are willing to function in commercial spaces where our freedoms are exchanged for the feeling of safety.