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urban planning reading summary


Open Posted By: jamesanderson Date: 25/08/2020 Academic Level: High School Paper Type: Report Writing

p. 29-41 & 50-54

 write a short summary (between 1-2 single-spaced pages) The objective is to clearly summarize the key points and main arguments from each article, and demonstrate a solid comprehension of the reading.  Summaries should be written in your own words, and should minimize the use of direct quotes. 


300-400 words


Category: Accounting & Finance Subjects: Finance Deadline: 24 Hours Budget: $60 - $90 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

THE DEATH

AND LIFE

OF GREAT

AMERICAN CITIES •

Jane Jacobs

VINTAGE BOOKS

A Division of &ndo11l HOllse

NEW YORK

2 The uses of sidewalks: safety

bets in cities serve many purposes besides carrying vehicles, :and city sidewaIks-the pedestrian f»m of the Strects-scrvc ITUny purposes besides carrying pedestrians. These: uses arc bound up with circuJation bU[ are not identical with it and in their own right they arc 2[ least as basic as circulation to the proper work· ings of ciries.

A city sidewalk by itself is nothing. It is an abstraction. It means something only in conjunction with the buildings and other uses that border it. or border other sidcwalks very near it. The SlIme might be said of streets, in the sense that they serve other purposes besides carrying wheeled traffic in their middles. Sueets :and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city. are its most vital orgms. Think of a city and what comes to mind? Its streets. If a city'S smcts look interesting, the city looks intu­ esting; if they look duH, the city looks dull,

More t�n thar. and here we get down to the first problem. if a

)0] TH� DEATH AND LI.r: 0. C:��AT AM�IllCAN C[TI�'

city's streers are safe from barbarism and feu, the city is thereby tolcrably safe from barbarism and fear. When people say that a

- city. or a part of it, is dangerous or is a jungle what they mean primarily is that they do not feel safe on the sidewalks.

But sidewalks and those who use thcm are not passive bene· ficiaries of safety or helpless victims of danger. Sidewalks, their bordering uses, and their users, are active parricipams in the drama of civilizarion versus barbarism in cities. To keep the city safe is a fundamenral task of a city's streets and its sidewalks.

This [ask is totally unlike any service mat sidewalk.:; and streets in little towns or true suburbs arc called upon to do. Great cities are not like towns, only larger. They are not like suburbs, only

. denser., They differ from towns and suburbs in basic ways. and one of these is that cities are b definition II of str:m ers. an en are far more common in bi cities t acquainunccs...:.. More common not JUSf in places of public as­

- sembly, but more common at a man's own doorstep. Even resi· dents who live near each other are strangers, and must be, because of the sheer number of people in small geogn.phical comp:l!.1S.

The bedrock attribute of a successful city district is that a per· , sOn must feel personally safe and secure on the str�t among all

'these str:1ngers. He must nOT feel automatically menaced by them. A city district that hils in this respeCT also docs badly in other ways and lays up for itself, and for its city at large, mountain on mountain of trouble.

Today barbarism has taken over many city streets, or people feal;" it has, which comes to much the same thing in the end. "I live in a lovely, quiet residenri21 area," says a friend of mine who is hunting another place to live. "The only disturbing sound ar night is the occasional scream of someone being mugged." It does not take many incidents of \·iolence on' a city street, or in a city district. to m�ke people fear the streets. And as they fear [hem, they usc them less, which makes the streets still more unsde.

To be sure, there arc people with hobgoblins in theif heads, and such people will never feel safe no mancr what the objective circumstances are. But this is 2 differem matter from the fear thac besets nonnally prudent, toleranr and cheerful people who show nothing more than common sense in refusing (0 venture after

'I'M U$1e1 of 5idewtlks; safety [)I

dark-or in a few places, by day--into streets where they may well be assaulted. unseen or unrescued unril tOO late.

The bubuism and' the real, not imagined. insecurity that gives rise: to such {ean cannot be ragged a problem of the slums. The problem is most serious, in fact. in genteel-looking "quiet resi­ dential areas" like that my friend was leaving.

It cannot be tagged as a problem of older pans of cities. The problem reaches its most baffling dimensions in some examples of rebuilt pans of cities. including supposcdly the best ex�mples of rebuilding, such as middle-income projectS. The police precinct captain of a nationally admired project of this kind (admired by plannen and lenden) has recently admonished residents not only about hanging around outdoon after dark but has urged them never to answer their doors without knowing ' the caller. Life he(c has much in common with life for the three litde pigs or the seven little kids of the nursery thrillers. The problem of side­ walk and doorstep insecurity is as serious in cities which have made conscientious efforts at rebuilding as it is in those ciries thar have lagged. Nor is it illuminating to tlIg minority groups, or the poor, or the outcast with responsibility for city danger. There: are immense variations in the degree of civilization and safety found among such groups and among the city areas where they live. Some of the safest sidewalks in New York City. for ex­ ample, at any time of day or night, are those along which poor people or minority groups live. And some of the most dangerous are in streets occupied by the same kinds of people. All this can also be said of other cities.

Deep and complicated social ills must lie behind d - clinquency

and crime, in suburbs and towns as well as in great cities. This book will not go into speculation on the deeper reasons. It is suf­ ficient, at this point, to s.ay that if we are to maintain a city society [hat can diagnose and keep Qbre:asr of deeper social problems. the starting point must be, in any case, to Strengthen whatever workable forces for maintaining safety and civilization do exist­ in the cities we do have. To build city districtS that are custom made for easy crime is idiotic. Yet [hat is what we do.

The first thing to undermnd is .

sidewalk: and street peace-of cities is not-';;;;-

}l] '!HE DEA'!H AND l.1J'/l OJ' c;"EAT AMEUCAN C::ITIEI

"'''''''l 2S police are.

:; �� areas-older public housing

streets with very j • turnover are often conspicu- ous examples-the of public sidewalk law and order is left almost entirely [0 police and special guards. Such places are jungles. No amollnt of police can enforce civilization where 'the normal, casual enforcement of it has broken down,

The second thing [0 understand is that the problem of inse­ curity canllOt be solved by spreading people out more thinly. mding the characteristics of cities for the characteristics of sub­ urbs. U this could solve, danger on the city sneers, then Los An­ geles should be a safe city because superficially Los Angeles'is al­ mOS[ all suburban, It has virtually no districts compact enough [0 qualify as dense city areas. Yet Los Angeles cannot. any more than any other great city, ,evade the uuth Ihat, being a city, it if composed of strangers not all of whom are nice. Los Angeles' crim� figures arc flabbergasting. Among the seventeen standard metropolitan areas with populations over a million, Los Angeles stands so pre-eminent in crime that it is in a category by itself. And this is markedly true of crimes associated with penonal at­ tack, we crimes that make people fear the streets,

. Los Angeles, for example, has a forcible rape rate ( [958 fig­ ures) of 3 [.9 per 100,000 population. more than twice as high as either of [he next two cities, which happen [0 be St. Louis and Philadelphia; three rimes as high as the rate of 10.[ for Chicago, and more than four times as high as [he rate of 7.4 for New York.

In aggravated ass:aulr:, Los Angeles has a rate of 185, compared with [49.5 for Baltimore and 139.2 for St. Louis (the twO next highest), and with 90.9 for New York and 79 for Chicago.

The overall Los Angeles !'lite for major crimes is l,507.6 per 100,000 people, far ahead of Sr. Louis and Houston, which come nen with 1,63+5 and [.541,1, mel. of New York and Chicago, which have rates of [,[45.3 and 943-5.

The reasons for Los Angeles' high crime rates are undoubt­ edly complex. and at least in part Obscure. But of this we can be sure: thinning OUt a city does not insure safety from crime and

The U5es of sidewalb: safety ( H

(ear o( crime. This is one of the conclusions that can be drawn within individuaJ ciries too, wllere pseudosuburbs or superannu­ ated suburbs are ideally suited to rape, muggings, bearings, hold­ ups and the like.

Here we come up against an aU-impornnr quesrion about any city street: How much easy opportunity does it offer to crime? It {Jlay be that there is some absolute amount of crime in a given city, which will find an outlet somehow (I do not believe this). Whether this is so or not, different kinds of city strem g.arner radically different shares of barbarism and fear of barbarism.

Some city SU'eetS afford no opportunity to street barbarism. The streets of the Nonh End of Boston are outstanding examples. They are probably as safe as any place on eanh in this respect. Ahhough most of the North End's residents are Italian or of 1121- ian descent, the district's streetS are also heavily and constantly used by people of every race and background. Some of th� strangers from outside work in or close to the district; some come to shop and srroll: many. including members of minority groups who have inherited dangetous districts previously abandoned by others, make a point of cashing their paychecks in North End stores and immediately making their big weekly purchases in streett where they know they will not be parted from their money between the gening lind the spending.

Frank Havey, director of the North End Union. the local SCt­ tlement house, says. "I have been here in the North End twenty­ eight years, and in all that time I have never heard of a single case of rape. mugging, molestarion of a child or other street crime of that son in the district. And if there had been any, I would have heard of it even if it did not reach the papers." Half a dozen times or so in the paSt three decades. says Havey. would­ be molesters have made an attempt at luring a child or, late at night, atlacking a woman. In every such case the try was chWllmd by passers-by. by kibitten from windows, or shopkeepers.

Meanrime, in the Elm Hill Avenue section of Roxbury. a pan of inner Boston that is suburban in superficial character, street assault! and the ever prescO( possibility of more street assault! with no kibitzers to protecr the vicrims, induce prudenr people to stay off the s.idewaJks at night. Not furprisingly, for this and other

,

,

}of ] THB DJ:ATH AKD LIF. e. G .. BAT AMJ;RlCAK CITIEI

reasons that arc: rclucd (dispiritedness and dullness), most of Rox­ bury has run down. It has become a place to leave.

I do not wish to single out Roxbury or its once fine Elm Hill Avenue section especially as ';Ii vulnerable area; its disabilities. and cspccU:lly its Great Blight of Dullness, are all too common in other cities too. But differences like th� in public safety within the same city are worth noting. The Elm Hill Avenue section's basic troubles arc not owing to a criminal or a discriminued against or 1. poveny-stricken population. Irs [roubles stem from 'the faCt that it is physically quite unable ro function safely and with related villllity as a city district.

Even within supposedly simihr pam of supposedly similar pl2ces, drastic differences in public safety exist. An incident at 'Washington Houses, a public housing project in New York, illus­ tr2ttS this point. A tenanrs' group 2t this project, struggling to establish itself, held some outdoor ceremonies in mid-December 1958, and PUt up three Christmas trees. The chief tree, so cumber­ some it was a problem to tr2nsport. erect. and trim. went into the project's inner "street," a bndSCllped central mall and promenade. The other two trees, each less than six feet tall and easy to carry,

- went on twO small fringe plors at the outer comers of the proj- eet where it abuts a busy avenue and lively cross streets of the old city. The first night, the large tree and all irs trimmings were stolen. The twO smaller trees remained int.act, lights. ornamenn; and all, until they were t.aken down at New Year's. "The place where rhe tree was stolen, which is theoretically the most safe al)d sheltered place in the project, is the same place that is unsafe for people too. especiaHy children," says a social worker who had been helping the tenann;' group. "People are no safer in that mall than the Christmas tree. On the other hand. the place where the other trees were safe, where the project is jUst one corner out of four. happens to be safe for people."

This is something everyone already knows: A well-used city street js apt tQ.be a safe street..A darned cit)' street is apt to be

�. But how does (}lis work, really? And what makes a city veet well used or shunned? \¥hy is the sidewalk mall in Wash­ ington Houses, which is supposed fO be an attraction, shunned?

The uses of sidewalks, safety [ )S

Why are the sidewalks of the old city just to its west not shunned? \Vh3t about streets that arc busy part of the time and then empry abruptly�

A city street equipped to handle strangers, and to make a safety asset, in itself, out of the presence of strangers, as the streets of successful city neighborhoods always do, must have three main qualities:

rim, therr milK be; a dear demarcation between what is pub­ lic space and what is private space P\lblic and private spaces can: not ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings . . or m prOJects,

Second.JQcrc must he eyes llpon the 'JUlit eyes bdonging to those we might 911 thl!; nampl prnprietor5 of the street. The buildings on a street equipped {Q handle strangers and to insure the safety of both residents and strangers, must be oriented to the street. They cannot TUcn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind.

And

enJoys a oc looking out a window at an empry street, Almost nobody docs such a thing. Large numbers of people entertain themselveS, off and on, by watching street activity,

In senlements that arc smaller and simpler than big cities, con­ trols on acceptable public behavior. if not on crime, seem ro op­ erate with greater or lesser success through a web of reputation, gossip, approval, disapproval and sanctions, all of which are pow­ erful if people know each other and word tr'lIvds, But a ciry's streets. which must control not only the behavior of the people of the ciry but also of visitors from suburbs and towns who want to have a big time away from the gossip and sanctions at home, have to operate by more direct. straightforward methods. It is a wonder cities have solved such an inherently difficult problem at all. AnJ:! yet in n:'any sneets they do it magnificently.

It is futile to tty to evade the issue of unsafe ciry streets by at­ tempting to make some other fearures of a IOQliry. say interior courtyards, or sheltered play spaces, safe instead. By definition

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ag:ain. the sneers of a city must do most of the job of handling strangers for this is where sU':angefS come and go. The snecrs must not only defend the: city ag-ainst predatory stl"3ngers, they must prorc:cf the many. many peaceable and well-meaning stnn­ gus who use them, insuring their safety tOO as they pass through . .Moreover. no nomul person can spend his life in some 2rrificial haven. and this includes children. Everyone must usc the stretts.

On the: surhce. we: seem to hn� here some simple aims: To uy to secure streees where the public spacc is unequivocally public, physically unmixed with private or with nothing-at-all space, so that the area needing survc:iII:mcc has clear :and pncticable limits; and to sec rhat these pub lic Street spacts have eyes on them as continuously as possible.

But it is not so simple to achieve these objecrs, C!JXcially the btter. You can't make people use smel3 they have no re2SOTI ro use, You can't make people watch meets they do not W2nt to W2tch. &lfery on the streets by surveillance and mutual policing (jf one another sounds grim, but in real life it is not grim. The safety of the street works best, most casually. and with least fre­ ,<Iuent taint of hostility or suspicion precisely where people are using �nd mOSt enjoying the city Streets voluntarily and are least conscious, nonrully, that they an: policing.

The basic requisite for such sur .. eillance is a subst:lntial qu:mtity tlf stores and other public places sprinkled :along the sidewalks of 2 district; enterprises 2nd public places that are used by evening :and night must be among them especially. Stores, bars and resf2U­ rants, as the chief ClIamplc:s. work in several different and complex ways to abet sidewalk safety.

First, they give pc:ople-both rcsidenrs and suangers-conCfCte reasons for using the sidcwallcs on which these enterprises face.

Second. they dnw people along the sidewalks past places which have no utnctions to public use in themselves but which become traveled and peopled as routes to somewhere else; this influence does not carry very far gcognphically, so enterprises must be fre­ quem in a city district if they are to populate with walkers those other stretches of street that lack public places along the s.ide­ walk. Moreover, there �hould be many different lrinds of enter­ prises, 10 give people reasons for crisscrossing paths.

The uses of sidewllks: safe[)' [ J1

Third, storekeepers and other small businessmen are typically strong proponents of peace and order themselves; they hate' broken windows and holdups; they hate having customers made nervous about safety, They are great street watchers and side­ walk guardians if present in sufficient numbers.

Founh, the activity generated by people on errands, or people ' aiming for food or drink, is itself an attraction to srill other pe0- ple. .

This last point. thar the sight of people attracts srill other pe0- ple, is something that city planners and city architectural design­ ers $Cern to lind incomprehensible. They operate on the premise that city people seek the sight of emptiness. obvious order and quiet. �othing could be less rrue. People's love of watching ac­ tivity and other people is constantly evident in cities everyw�ere, This trait reaches an almost ludicrous extteme on upper Broad­ way in New York, where the street is divided by 11 narrow cen­ tral mall, right in the middle of traffic. At the cross-stteet imer­ sections of this long north-south mall, ocnches have been placed .behind hig concrete buffers and on any day when the weather is even barely colel"1lble these benches are lilled with people at block after block after block, watChing the pedestrians who cross the mall in front of them. watching the traffic, watching the people on the busy sidewalks, watching each mher. Eventually Broadway reaches Columbia University and Barnard College, one to the right. the other to the left. Here all is obvious order and quiet. No more stores, no more activity genel"1lted by the stores, almost no marc pedesrrians crossing--and no more watchers. The benches are there but they go empty in even the finest weather. I have tried them and can see why . .No place could be more boring. Even the srudems of these instirutions shun the $Olirude. They are doing their oUidoor loitering, outdoor homework and general stree� watching on the Steps overlooking the busiest campus crossing.

It is just so on city stree" elsewhere. A lively street always h:as both its users and pure wacchers. Last year I was on such a street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, wailing for a bus. I had not been {here longer than a minute, barely long enough to begin taking in the street's activity of errand goers, children playing,

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3M) THE DEATII AND LirE 01' ... EAT AMiUCAN CITIItS

and loiterers on the Stoops. when my attention was attracted by a woman who opened a window on che third floor of a tenement across rhe street and vigorously roo-hooed at me:. When [ caught on that she wanted my attention and responded, she shouted down, "The bus doesn't run here on Saturdays!" Then by a com· bin�tibn of shouts and panromime she directed me around the COT­ ner. This woman was one of thousands upon thousands of people in New York who ClIsu:.t1ly rake care of the streetS. They notice su�ngen. They observe everything going on. If they need to take action, whether to direct a stranger waiting in the wrong place or to call the police, they do so. Acrion usually requires, ro be sllre, a certain self-assurance about the acmr's propricrorship of the street and the support he will get if necessary, manttS which will be gone into later in this book. But even more fundamental Ihan Ihe action and necessary to the acrion, is the watching itself.

Not everyone in cities helps to take care of the streets, and many a city resident or city worker is unaware of why his neighborhood is safe. The other day an incident occurred on the street where I live, and it interested me because of Ihis point.

My block of the street, I must explain, is a small one, but it contains a remarkable range of buildings. varying from sevenl vintages of tenements to three- and four-story houses that have been converted into low-rent flats with stores on rhe ground floor, or rerumed to single-family use like ours. Across rhe sueet there used to be mostly four-story brick tenementS with stores be­ low: But twelve years ago several buildings.. from the corner to the middle of the block, were converted into one building with elevator apartments of small siu and high rents.

The incident that attracted my attention was a suppressed strug­ gle going on between a man and a little girl of eight or nine years old; The man seemed to be trying to get the girl to go with him. By turns he was directing a cajoling auenuon to her, and then assuming an air of nonchalance. The girl was making herself rigid, as children do when they resist, agW1s1 the wall of one, of the tenements across the sueet.

,As I watched from our second-floor window, making up my , mind how to intervene if it seemed advisable, I saw it was not go­ ing to be ·necess.uy. From

, the butcher shop beneath the une-

Thc uses of 'sidcwalks, safcty [ )9

ment had emerged the woman who, with her husband, run.� the shop; she was standing within earshot of the man, her arms folded and a look of detennination on her face. Joe Cornacchia, who with his sons-in·Jaw keeps the delicatessen, emerged about the' s,lIne moment and stood solidly to the other side. Several heads poked OUt of the tenement windows above, one was withdra .... 'n quickly and its owner reappeared a moment later in the doorway behind the man. Two men from the bar next to the butcher shop c:lme to the doorway and waited. On my side of the street, ] saw that the locksmith, the fruit man and the laundry proprietor had all come out of their shops and that the scene was also being surveyed from a number of windows besideS ours. That man did not know it, but he was surrounded. Nobody W:L� going to allow a little girl to be dragged off, even if nobody knew who she was.

I am sorry---$Orry purely for dramatic purposes--ro have to re­ POrt that the little girl turned out to be the man's daughter.

Throughout the duration of the lime drama, perhaps five min­ ute.� in all, no eyes appeared in the windows of the high-rent. small-apartment building. It was the only building of which this was true. When we first moved to our block. I used to anricip�te happily thar perhaps soon all the buildings would be rehabilitated like that one. I know better oow', and can OI\\y anticipate with gloom and foreboding the recent news that exactly this transfor­ mation is scheduled for the rest of the block fronnge adjoining the high-rent building. The high-rent tenants, most of whom are so transient we c:lnno[ even keep [rack of their faces,· h,lve not the remotest idea of who takes care of their mett, or how. A city neighborhood can absorb and protect a substantial number of these birds of passage, as our neighborhood does. But if and when the neighborhood finally becomer them, they will gradu­ ally find [he streets less secure. they will be vaguely mystified about it, and if things get bad enough they will drift away to an­ other neighborhood which is mysteriously safer.

In some rich city neighborhoods, where there is little do-it­ yourself surveillanct, such as residential Park Avenue or upper

• Some, according 10 lhe storckccp'!'$, livc on beans and bread and 'pend Ihcir sojourn looking for a place 10 lin whcrc aU thcir money will not go for rent.

40] TH� DEATH ""'D LIFE OS CRf:AT AMEIIIC"'" CITIEI

Fifth Avenue in New York, street w3tchcn are hi.rcd. The mo­ notonous sidewalks of residenriaJ Park Avenue, fOf example, an: surprisingly little used; their putative usen are populating. in­ stead, the interesting score-, bar- and restaurant-filled sidewalks of Lexington Avenue and Madison Avenue to east and west, and the cross streets leading to these. A network of doormen and super­ intendents, of delivery boys and nursemaids, a {ann of hired neighborhood, keeps residential Park Avenue supplied with eyes. At night. with the security of the doannen as a bulwark, dog walkers safely venture forth and supplement the doonllcn, But this street is so blank of built-in eyes, so devoid of concrete reasons for using or watching it instead of turning the first cor­ ner off of it, thar if its rents were to slip below the point where they could support: a plenriful hired neighborhood of doomlen and elevator men, it would undoubtedly become a woefully dangerous st�et.

Once a street is well equipped to handle srrangers. once ir has both :I good, effective demarcation between private and public spaces and has a basic supply of activity and eyes, the more strangen the merrier.

Strangen become an enormous asset on the street on which I live, and the spurs off it, particularly at night when safety assets are most needed. We afe fonunate enough, on the street, to be gifted not only with a IOC'ally supponed bu and another around the comer, but also with a famous bar fhar draws continuous troops of strangers ftom adjoining neighborhoods and even from

.OUT of town. It is famous because the poet Dylan Thomas used to go there, and mentioned it in his writing. This bar, indeed, works two distinct shifts. In the morning and early afternoon it is a s0- cial gathering place for the old community of Irish longshore­ men and OIher craftsmen in the area, as it always was. But be­ ginning in midaftemoon it takes on a diffe�m life. more like a college bull session with beer. combined with a literary cochail parry, and this continues until the early hours of me morning. On a cold winter's night, as you pass the While Horse, and the doors open, a solid wave of conversation and animation surges OUt and hits you; very warming. The comings and goings from Ihis bar do much to keep our street reasonably populated until three in

TIle uses of sidewalks: safety [ 4'

the morning, and it is a street always safe to come home to. The only inslance I know of a beating i n our street occurred in the dead hours between the closing of the bar and dawn. The beating was halted by one of our neighbors who saw it from his window and, unconsciously certain that even at night he was part of a web of strong street Jaw and order, intervened.

A friend of mine lives on a street upwwn where a church youth and community center, with many night dances and ot�er activities, perfonns the same service for his street that the White Horse bar does for ours. Onhodox planning is much imbued with purilanical and UtOpian conceptions of how people should spend their free time, and in planning, these mornlisms on people's pri­ vate lives are deeply confused with concepts about the workin� of cities. In maintaining city street civilization, the White Horse bar and the church-sponsored youth center, different as they un­ doubtedly are, perform much the same public street civilizing service. There is not only room in cities for such differences and· many more in taSte, purpose and interest of occupation; cities also have a need for people with all these differences in taSte and pro­ clivity. The preferences of Utopians., and of other compu1sive managers of other people's leisure, for one kind of legal enter­ prise over others is worse man irrelevant for cities. It is harmful. The greater and more plentiful the range of all legitimate inter­ estS (in the strictly legal sense) that city Streets and their enter­ prises can SOltisfy, the better for the streets and for the safety and civilization of the city.

Bars, and indeed all commerce, have a bad name in many city districts precisely because they do draw strangers, and the stran­ gers do not work out as an asset at all.

This sad circumstance is especially troe in the dispirited gray belts of great cities and in once fashionable or at least once solid inner residential areas gone into decline. Because these neighbor. hoods are so dangerous, and the streets typically so· dark, it is commonly believed that their [rouble may be insufficient street lighting. Good lighting is impomnr, but darkness alone does not account for the gray areas' decp, functional sicknem. the Great Blight of Dullness.

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Jason
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so) THI'! IIIATH AND LillI! 011 CtI!AT' AMULCAM CITIU

street?" he 2Sks. "\Vho puts them out if they don't belong here?" The technique of dividing the city into Turfs is not simply a

New York solution. It is a Rebuilt American City solution. At the Harvard Design Conference of 1959. one of the topics pon­ de1'Cd by city architectural designers turned oU[ to be the pU7.rle of Turf, although they did not usc that designation. The ex­ amples discussed happened to be the Lake Meadows middle-in­ come projeCt of Chicago and the Lafayette Park high-income project of Detroit. Do you keep the rest of the city out of these blind-eyed purlieus? How difficult and how unpalarable. Do you invite the rest of the city in? How difficult and how impossible.

Like the Youth Board worken, the developers and residents of Radiant City and RadUnt Garden City and Radiant Garden City Beautiful have a genuine difficulty and they have [0 do rhe best they can with it by the empirical means at their disposal. They have little choice. Wherever the rebuilt city rises the barbaric concept of Turf must follow, because the rebuilt city has junked a b2Sic function of the city street and with it, necessarily. the freedom of the city.

Under the seeming disorder of the old city. wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a COOl­ plex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, :md although it is life. not art, we may fancifully call it the art fonn of the city and liken it to the dance-not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at rhe same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse. but to an intricate bailer in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distincti've puts which miraculously rein­ force each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any one place is always replete with new improvisations.

The srretch of Hudson Street where I live is each day the scene of an intricate sidewalk ballet. I make my own first entrance into it a lime after eight when I put out the garbage can, surely a prosaic occupation. but I enjoy my part, my little clang. as the

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The uses of sidewalks: safety [ s 1

droves of junior high school students walk. by the center of the stage dropping candy wrappers. (How do they eat so much candy so early in the morning?)

\Vhile I sweep up the wrappers I watch the other rituals of morning: Mr. Halpert unlocking the laundry's handcart from its mooring to a cellar door, Joe Cornacchia's son-in-law stacking OUt the empty crates from the delicatessen, the barber bringing out his sidewalk folding chair, Mr. Goldstein arranging the coils of wire which proclaim the hardware store is open, the wife of the tenement's superinu:ndenr depositing her chunky three-year-old with a lOy mandolin on the stOOp, the vantage point from which he is learning the English his mother cannO{ speak. Now the primary chil dren, heading for 5(. Luke's, dribble through to [he south; the children for Sr. Veronica's cross, head­ ing to the west, and the children for P.S. 41, heading toward the east. Two new entrances are being made from the wings: well­ dressed and even elegant women and men with brief cases emerge from doorways and side streers. Most of these are heading for the bus and subways, bUI some hover on the curbs, SlOpping taxis which have miraculously appeared at the right moment, for the taxis 3fe pan of a wider morning ritual: having dropped passen­ gers from midtown in the downTOwn financial district, they are now bringing downtowners up to midtown. Simultaneously, numbers of women in housedresses have emerged and as they crisscross with one another they pause for quick conversations that sound with either laughter or joint indignation, never, it seems, anything between. It is time for me ro hurry to work tOO, and I exchange my ritual farewell with Mr. Lofaro, the short, thick-bodied, white-aproned fruit man who stands outside his doorway a little up the sneer, his arms folded, his reef planted. looking solid as earth itself. \Ve nod; we each glance quickly up and down the street, then look back to each other and smile. \Ve have done this many a morning for more than ten years. and we both know what it means: All is well.

The hean-of-the-day ballet I seldom see, because parr of the nature of it is that working people who live there, like me, are mostly gone, filling the roles of strangers on other sidewalks. • But from days off, I know enough or it to know that it becomes

S I ] ·TIIE DEATH AND LIFE 01' GnAT A�ERlCAN CITIU

more and morc intricate. Longshoremen who are not working that day gather at the \\'hite Horse or the Ideal or the Inter* national for beer and conversation. The executives and ·business lunchers from the industries jun to the west throng the Dor* gene restaurant and the Lion's Head coffee house; meat·market workers and communications scientists fill rhe bakery lunchroom. Character dancers come on, a strange old man with strings of old shoes over his shoulders. mOTOr.sCOOtet riders with big beards and girl friends who bounce OIl the back of the scooters lind wear their hair long in front of their faces u well as behind, drunks who follow rhe advice of the Hat Council and are always turned OUt in hats, but not hats the Council would approve. Mr. Lacey, the locksmith, shuts up his shop for a while and goes to exchange the rime of day with Mr. Slube at the cigar store. Mr. Koochagian, the tailor, waters the luxuriam jungle of plants in his window, gives them a critical look from the outside, accepts a compliment on them from two passers-by, lingers me leaves on the plane tree in front of our house ·with a thoughtful gardener'S appraisal, and crosses the street for a bite at the Ideal where he can keep an eye on customer5 and wigwag across the message that he is coming. The baby carriages come out, and clusters of everyone from coddlers with dolls to teen·agers with homework gather at the Stoops.

When I get home after work, the ballet is reaching its cre· scendo. This is the time of roller skates and stile; and rricydes, and games in the lee of the Stoop with bottletops and plastic cowboys; this is the time of bundles and packages. zigzagging from the drug store to the fruit stand and back over to the butcher's; this is the time when reen·agers, all dressed up. are pausing to ask if their slips show or their collars look riJht; this is the time when beautiful girls get out of MG's; this is the time when the fire engines go through; thi� is the time when anybody you know around Hudson Street will go by.

As darkness thickens and Mr. Halpert moors the laundry cart to the cellar door again. the bailer goes on under lights, eddying back and forth but imensifying at the bright spOtlight pools of Joe's sidewalk pizza dispensary, the ban, the delicatessen, the restauram and the drug stor�. The night workers stOp now at

The u� of sidewJlks: safety [53 the delicatessen, to pick up salami and a container of mil k. Things have seuled down for the evening but the sueet and its ballet· have not come to a stOp.

r know the deep night ballet and its seasons beSt from waking long after midnight to tend a b2by and, sitting in the dark, seeing the shadows and hearing (he sounds of the sidewalk. Mostly it is a sound like infinitely pauering snatches of party conversation and, about three in [he morning, singing, very good singing. Sometimes there is sharpness and anger or sad, sad weeping, or a flurry of search for a string of be.1ds broken. One night a young man came roaring along. bdlowing terrible language at tWO girls whom he had apparently picked up and who were disappointing him. Doors opened, a waty semicircle formed around him, not. to� close, until the police came. OUt came the heads, too, along Hudson Street. offering opinion. "Drunk . . . Crazy . . . A wild kid from the suburbs."·

Deep in the night. I am almost unaware how many people are on the sneer unless something caUs them together, like the bag­ pipe. \\'ho the piper was and why he favored our street I have no idea. TIle bagpipe jUst skirled out in the February night, and as if it were a signal the random, dwindled movements of the side­ walk took on direction. Swiftly. quietly, almost magically � little crowd w�s rhere, a crowd that evolved into a circle with a Highland fling inside it. The crowd could be seen on the shadowy sidewalk, the dancers could be seen. but the bagpiper himself was almost invisible because hi s bra.vura was all in his music. He was a very little man in a p!ain brown overcoat. \Vhen he finished and vanished, the dancers and watchers applauded. and applause c�me from the gal!eries toO, half a dozen of the hundred . windows on Hudson Street. Then the windows closed. and the little crowd dissolved into the random movements of me night street.

The strangers on Hudson Street. the allies whose eyes help us natives keep the peace of the street, are so many that they always seem to be different people from one day [0 the next. Thar does • He turned out to be a wild kid from the suburbs. Sometimes. OIl Hudson Str�t, we are tempud to believe the suburbs muSi be • difficult pla.ce to bring up children.

H ) THE D!ATH AND LIP!: DF eM!A1- AMI!;UCAN CITIES

not matter. 'Whether they are so many always-different people as they seem to be, I do not knpw. Likely they :lre. When Jimmy Rogan fell through a plate-gla$ window (he was separating some scuffling friends) and almOSt lost his ann, a stranger in an old T shirt emerged from the Ideal bar, swiftly applied an expert tourniquet and, according to the hospiral's emergency staff, saved Jimmy's life. Nobody remembered seeing the man before and no one h:ls seen him since. The hospit:ll was called in rhis way: a woman sining on the steps ne�:t to the accident ran over to the bus stop. wordlessly snatched the dime from the h:lnd of a stranger who was waiting with his fifteen-cent fare �ady, and _ !}Iced into the Ideal's phone booth. The stranger raced after her to offer the nickel too. :r-.'obody remembered seeing him before, and no one has seen him since. \Vhen you see the same str:mger three or four times on Hudson Street, you begin ro nod. This is almost getting to be an acquairmnce, a public acquaimance, of course.

I have made the daily ballet of Hudson Street sound more frenetic than it is, because wriring it telescopes it. In rcal life, it is not that way. In rC"JI life, to be sure, something is always going on, the ballet is never at a halt, bur the �neral effect is peacdul and the general tenor even leisurely. People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid People who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads-like [he old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers' descriptions of rhinocerosts.

On Hudson Street, the same as in the Nonh End of Boston or in any other animated neighborhoods of great ciri,es. we arc not inn:ltdy more competent at keeping the sidewalks safe than are ,the people who try to live off the hostile truce of Turf in a blind-cyed city. We are the lucky possessors of a city order that makes it relatively simple to keep the peace because there arc plenty of eyes on the street. But there is nothing simple about rhat order itself, or the bewildering' number of components that go into it. Most of those componenrs arc 'spcci:l lizcd in one way or another. They unite in their joint effeet upon the sidewalk, which is not specialized in the least. That is its strength.