| On streets, edited by Stanford Anderson|
-the Street as a Communications Artifact
In is in this context that in the past decade there have been several attempts at describing the city as an aggregate of open and sheltered spaces, of places of public gathering and passage that, by virtue of their multiplicity of use and their proximity, can be considered effective devices for sustaining maximum intensity and choice of communication among members of society.
In this view a society, or culture, is held to be “people in communication,” and the great characteristic of the city – and one explanation for its phenomenal growth – is its unique capability to serve as a nodal point for regional communications and, internally, to provide physically for an easily accessible web of contacts and exchanges.
On a critical issue, the interrelationships between physical patterns and man’s social interactions, the outline is generally obscure, except in precise and very specific examples.
1. Historical definition of space between buildings as a public space.
It is the urban street that from the first origins of settlements has acted as principal place of public contact and public passage, a place of exchange of ideas, goods, and services, a place of play and fight, of carnival and funeral, of protest and celebration. Its place in the web of associations that have sustained human society is therefore paramount. P207
Now it has had one more meanings, sometimes consolidated meaning, the movement
This new meaning of the negative spaces strengthen –
Physically the city could be seen as a vast conglomerate of communications artifacts: of places of passage - urban freeways, large and small streets, corridors, elevators, and stairs; subsurface pipes, cables, mains, subways or sewers; of collection and distribution nodes – markets, radio stations, newsstands, switchboards, lobbies, and stations; of formal meeting places – auditoriums and stadiums; of informal meeting places – street corners and squares; of storage areas – warehouses, parking lots, and reservoirs. This list could be made extremely long and is made very complex by the many overlays and gradations of form and use that characterize the city. Thus on the one hand there are merely designated surface, but in the course of its evolution it becomes a heavily built artifact not only on its surface but also in its subsurface and along its edges. At one end of the spectrum there are artifacts so specialized that they are capable of supporting a very narrow range of communication – traffic lights, for example. At the other extreme are found unspecialized artifacts, paramount among these the street – a classic example of the overlaying of functions: in its dual nature both a place of passage (path) and a place of gathering (mode), although it frequently performs the tertiary task of storage (parking, for example).
Yet today the urban street has too often become specialized, often largely a track for traffic; diffuse, an alternating sequence of monumentally isolated buildings and parking lots; and neglected, a no-man’s-land of litter and crime. Today communication among members of society can take place in locations and by means remote from the street. P207
The apparatus for communication is getting loose in the urban public space, which became the linear space for experience, for tourist, or movements. Such an experimental knowledge of the street is formed as the result of long experience exposure to the experiences of the street. P211.
But, the physical environment has much less effect than planners imagine. Often the social environment has considerably more effect. (Herbert Gans, People and Plans (New York: Basic Books, 1968, p. 19) Still other studies in ordinary hospital wards, school settings, and libraries indicate than humans unconsciously structure their personal space to protect their privacy an thus control the amount and intensity of their interaction with others. Some of studies also suggest that where space is structured for them, people tend to accept rules of behavior embedded in the spatial structure and will adopt roles more congruent with their position in space than their personalities. (Erving Goffman, Interaction Ritual (Chicago: Aldine, 1967, p. 19)p226 . Their relative dominance and their willingness to observe or participate is therefore often reinforced by their spatial positions.
The marketplace of the medival town also reflected this unity: it provided an area for social interchange which included not only the exchange of goods for money but entertainment and the exchange of services as well.
2. Sectional typology has been changed:
While the broad street, the perspective view, and the outlook over a wide area often considered to be responses to military inventions, it is equally likely that they arose as tangible symbols of national power which turned the city outward toward the country as a whole and which used the capital city as a visible symbol of the state’s power. P231 Changes in technology are reflected in increasing specialization of street function. The great streets, planned by military engineers or central planning agencies, became more than the locus of ordinary activity: settings for the symbols of national power and class distinctions (the horse and carriage). With the growth of nationalism, technology, capitalism, and state power, the guild hall and church lost their centrality; religious, kinship, and other spheres – once interwoven in a complex network of mutual obligations – became separate and distinct. P231 Today, the role of the street and the nature and content of social interaction vary with class, ethic group, age structures, and type of specialization and compartmentalization of society have removed indoors many of the socially cohesive activities once found in the street. P 231
The evolution of technology with its attendant economic pressures and proliferation of formal institutions, and the encroachment on the street of municipal and state functions, suggest that the role of the street is now rarely visualized in terms of an immediate neighborhood: acting as a link rather than locus. Increasingly, the street is recognized for its transit capabilities rather than for its ability to provide a setting for a range of rich and diversified human behaviors.
The importance of the street as a center of information wanes with the increase in literacy and the development of communication devices. P232
3. I made three reasons communication on the street is getting weaker.
A. Rules of trespass, laws regulating traffic, or zoning regulations restricting an individual’s freedom to construct adjacent to the street. P209
These regulations have been formed by the gradual evolutions controlling the use of the airwaves, the sea lanes, and the public services, these regulations have been formed by the gradual evolution that the legal mechanism of contestation and precedent have provided. P209
Lines of regulations prevent people from doing different things on the street. (Fig. many pictures)
B. Centralized governmental policy: We must recognize that much of the social malaise we are striving to eliminate is, in good part, a result of the development of political systems which have gradually eroded the more organic social ties of the town and village and replaced them with superordinate legal and political systems. P228. Government policy which encourages spatial mobility and family instability has eroded the props once supportive of social interdependency even as it has limited the ability of many members of the lower classes to participate in the wider society. P228 One could list numerous reasons for the decline in the proportion of daily social life that occurs in public urban space: the automobile; television; economic imperatives which make small, personal business unprofitable, forcing them to give way to large, impersonal supermarkets; p228 The influence of this centralization of power on the street is only too obvious in the emphasis placed on the street as linkage rather than locus. P232
C. privatization and individuality: The particulars of the impacts of modes of transport upon the street, especially that of the automobile, which in the twentieth century did for public transportation, are best treated elsewhere. P210 This trend has been supported by a growing network of personal communication, the telephone, the growth of the mass media, indeed of the mass industrial product and of its attendant means of distribution. P210. The long term historical changes in industrial society have been toward an ever-increasing scale of the society, reflecting increasingly complex networks of interdependence. P211. (Levasseur, Emile. “Des Changements Survenus au XIX Siecle dans les Conditions du Commerce par suite duProgres des Voices et Moyens de Communication,” Congres Internationale de Geographie Economique et Commerciale. Paris, 1900 )
D. Mobile devices: Accompanying the great growth of the newly industrialized western city came the technological developments that both caused and were created to serve this growth: the streetcars, elevated railways, and subways; applications of the railroad to the supposed relief of the street congestion; the automobile; the telephone, telegraph, and later radio and television networks, radically new forms that enabled communication to be removed from the street. P209 In analogous manner, although it is no longer necessary to go into the street to gather water, the pipes that carry the water pass almost necessarily through the subsoil of the public space. P210
3. However, the street is in a process of continual transformation. With historical layers, they have adapted themselves to social, political, anthropological changes. For examples, my potential sites, Zocalo square in Mexico City, Vabaduse valjak in Tallin, Estonia.
4. Proposal :
In our zeal to produce environmets that are true as well as beautiful, however, we must recognize that one of our best tools is not simply what we do for people, but how we make them active participants in their own lives. P228
A. Although often the cores of the cities are made over to the new dimensions, so that the number of streets that can sustain a pedestrian scale of communication are few, and the prevalent pattern is of large building complexes, spaced at automobile scale, with internal street-like distribution systems, I found architectural potentiality. Break boundary between the building surface. Such urban configurations, in which streets tend to become vestigial subjects of inwardly orienting residential or commercial organizations, lack the fine gradations and continuity of experience and social contact that a continuum of streets can bring as mediator between man and man, man and machine, building and building, private realm and public space. P211. The street with boundaries that separate interior form exterior, private from public space does not exist in hunting and gathering societies. P228. It seems possible that where social boundaries are clear and well supported by other institutions in the system, the need for physical boundaries may diminish. P230. If the emergence of the street stands as a symbol of the separation of private from public domains, it nevertheless must also be the locus of the active definition of public and private.
We transform man form a active, inquisitive creature who makes himself into a passive victim of a self-created but all-powerful technocratic system. Our best attempts must be devoted to increasing social interaction. P232
However, it seems to be difficult to demolish physical boundaries on the street, because terrific lanes already occupied potential space for the people. The square will be the only place for doing something.
Break the privatization!!
Urban furniture integrated with the inside of a building in terms of programs.