September 12, 2013

Cramming Everything In

This is Chinatown in Toronto, Canada on a Sunday afternoon in June. They made use of as much of the public space as they could. It became a little congested at points, but I made my way through.I can imagine many code enforcement and public works folks being very agitated about the signs and  products for sale on the sidewalk. This sidewalk could probably stand to have fewer of those things, but I get the feeling the folks using this sidewalk really don't mind. The disorder is part of what makes this place attractive. It's why you go there. It's why people care about places like this and keep coming back.
“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 complex 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, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations.”  
― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities  

No comments: