You know, the place you drive through every day to get to work? The streets, the buildings, the people? If you’re anything like most people, the route from your home to work/school/shops is an easy in-the-car-park-out-the-car experience. There’s no deeper, more sincere interaction other than the window roll up soaked of guilt while you wait for the light to change to green.
The team from Open Streets invited the public to explore these exact public spaces surrounding Buitenkant Street, an area below Hood 8 (bordered by Roeland, Mill & Hatfield Streets & Jutland Avenue), in an hour and a half session called Talking Streets. Hosting a gathering where discussions were about the use of the streets by the public, its aim was to get people to become mindful about their surrounding environment and how it makes them feel – documenting this, participants would allow their thoughts to be attributes of the development of streets into what they feel is necessary.
We met outside the public library, on the corner of Darling and Parade. As the crowd built up, acquaintances were made, prepping for the short bout of conversations we would end up having along our journey. A fantastic group, it was great to be surrounded by those who had a sincere consideration in what Open Streets is doing and an invested interest of the area itself. This enabled constructive conversations and raised important questions in terms of the urban poor, the most prominent residences of this area, as well as the use of public space to accommodate them.
Because of the city’s CID, the poor are being pushed to its fringes, unable to make the inner city their home. The area we visited is known for people sleeping in every corner available, which, to some, is an eyesore. However, through various conversations that some attendees of Talking Streets have had with all scopes of people of the area, the urban poor are an integral part of the community.
There is a strong culture infusion that flows through these streets, but how do we make it safer and a more constructed community environment? The conclusion: the very basics of our city’s situation have to change. Legislations about how people are looked after and controlled need to be re-examined, people’s inherent understanding of the urban poor needs to be addressed and a ground up approach to using the streets as public spaces should be initiated by all.
Urban solutions and social revolutions – inspired conversations about innovation rather than invention and the deeper levels we need to throw ourselves into so we may make a considerable difference within the communities we live and interact. What a remarkably astounding thought to be stuck with on a Sunday afternoon, urging me to get to know the community of my own.
For Pics on the day, check them out here…