Cat Calls and Car Horns
All are weary, yet unbelievably alert. Eyes dart from side to side not just to watch surrounding car traffic, but also to look for possible pedestrian darting, without warning, across the busy road. Horns honk, unwanted cat calls are made to young women who walk speedily, with their eyes conducting an intense staring contest with the ground near their feet. Welcome to West Broadway one and all; a poster child of disrepair and anxiety.
Social and design issues are not two separate concepts; but intertwined ideas that effect each other significantly. One does not stem from the other but each begin from the same point. To better illustrate this idea, consider West Broadway and the environment it embodies. The design of the area and its social status continual affect one anther. Take for example, the physical state of the area, aka its design. The buildings, at one time well kept, have now fallen into a deep state of disrepair. The structures sport bars on their windows, spray paint splashed across walls; the public routes have trash lying upon its side walks, and cars parked within the driving lanes. How did it come to this? An area that was once new, get to the point where is so worn that it is now viewed with distaste and distrust. Does the social aspects of this area some how have an effect on its designed environment?
The social environment of West Broadway, on the surface, appears to fit into the stereotype of many would believe correct for such an area. A high state of crime is present within the area, and many of the residents appear to only have respect for only themselves. More attention is called to this issue by the extensive police presence in West Broadway. Yes, they are there to monitor the public, and make sure they are abiding by the law; however they may also cause more problems. They may dig and prodder for non existence problem, until they dig up something that originally would have been left undisturbed. What has caused the unrest in these social aspects of Broadway? Does the design environment cause or affect the social side of the area?
The social and designed issues that compose West Broadway are intertwined. One did not cause the other but they happened simultaneously. The unrest and disrepair are twin issues that must be solved as one. The first step is look beyond the skin of the situation into the heart of it. These buildings have a history, and the people have a pride for their home. Once, we accept the area for its faults and attributes we can fix both its social and designed issues to make it the place it was built to be.