Feet Follow Fabric: The Importance of “Eyes” on Street (2011)
Outline of Content for 30-40 Minutes of Presentation to the World Planning Day eConference, November 1, 2011 (with questions from the ‘audience,’ the 45-minute slot will be filled)
[Final slide show available upon request: email@example.com]
JOKE: What is worse than finding a worm in your apple? Answer: Finding half a worm. Likewise, what is worse than being the only pedestrian walking along a street? Being on one with one other person, a stranger.
Cartoon of a person holding hands with a car, and being told by the ‘bouncer’ that he is welcome, but not his ‘friend.’
Feet Follow Fabric”: my way of restating Jacobs’ idea by using the format of the architects’ homily: “Form Follows Function.” Eyes, of course are not the only sense organs used to built the fabric of caring that Jacobs is trying to identify. Together our senses and our caring about a place a fabric that, like all fabrics, can wear down or be torn by outside forces. When a place seems unwalkable, a place where you feel unwelcome and unsafe, you can say the fabric either never formed, or it was there – as is the case for most traditional areas experiencing the stress of increased through motor traffic, loss of sidewalk-hugging structures, and a loss of foot traffic – but has been lost.
The different angles people’s glances follow (‘desire lines’), the different times of day, different interests, all make for a richer fabric. There is also a time or sequential dimension to fabric: each encounter between two people – usually already know to each other – is very often within earshot of someone else, who might hear a reference to something they are interested in, or can offer valuable input, and they will “excuse” themselves and try to join in. This can set off a chain reaction – via something Wm.Whyte calls “triangulation” in which a cluster discussion can run on for hours, with some people drifting off to other business, only to be replaced by others arriving and joining in.
Such activity will, of course, occupy much of the minds and senses of the participants, but not all of them, still leading to a net gain for the ‘eyes’ available to catch something of danger to the place and its occupants. These encounters both lengthen the stays of the participants, but also increase their interest in coming by the area in the first place; they don’t want to miss the news and ideas that swim around such encounters. [contact between strangers: “One might say, as a general rule, that acquainted persons in a social situation require a reason not to enter into a face engagement with each other, while unacquainted persons require a reason to do so.” (Gehl, p. 170)]
We not only spend less time outdoors, but when we do, it is less likely to contribute to this fabric: we are in organized activities, we are in our backyards (favouring privacy over conviviality), or we are in a hurry and travel by the fastest means and dare not stop to say hi to a friend, to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, or to check into something odd along one’s way.
The classic study of fabric is the work by Donald Appleyard and colleagues along a similar block facing three streets that are similar except for the amount of motor traffic they carry. The foot travel between the different properties, all residences, are plotted. There is a clear correlation: the least motor traffic corresponds to the most foot traffic. (Appleyard). These blocks had no space set aside for socializing, so it would would occur on the sidewalks in conjunction with sitting on porches, and over time, move indoors as the parties’ lives became known to each other through establishing trust via accepting their acknowledged common fate and developing an interest in each other. Gehl (p.81-82) also documents two comparable blocks that differ by front yard seating vs. the same space being used for parking the occupant’s private car, showing that the former had 21 times as many encounters around the town houses’ entrances. Finally, Gehl points to an Australian study which compared a “vehicle street” to a “pedestrian street,” which showed 75% of young children were held back, away from the street, by adults on the former, while only 25% were on the latter (p. 175).
H. Whyte and Jan Gehl study public places, such as parks and squares. There, the contacts made between people are not as common, and they are more likely to be anonymous and less likely to reoccur, partly because out-of-town visitors are a major part of the mix.
Fear: This is the “elephant in the room” of urbanism. Soderstrom (p. 203): “Walkability, as Jane Jacobs notes, can actually keep fear at bay.. . . A constant stream of foot traffic lessens the opportunity for crime.”
We may throng to streets and parks during festivals and with our coworkers on a summer day, bag lunch in hand. But most people have cars which allow them to speed through antiseptically dangerous areas, along dangerous streets, and in the few safe places during bad weather and at night, when spooky things happen. It is to Jane Jacobs’ credit that she raises it, suggesting that the characteristics of place can diminish it to incidentality. No need to cross dangerous streets, or to sustain the indignities of being pressed against a foul (in many possible ways) person on a bus, and no need to fear, while one rides a bike along the gutter, that a distracted driver will strike us.
0. What is a Street?
It has elements of a) access to adjacent properties, b) mobility between more distant properties, and c) site of encounters of commerce, economic and social. These must be able to occur simultaneously, which requires some segregation, but not so much that space that is not needed at any moment for one purpose becomes available for other purposes. Using streets to provide access for vehicles that are parked on private property is relatively new, and such access tends to increased the chance of a pedestrian-vehicle conflict.
0b. Rideau Street is my street, at least for the last five years. It replaces Bank Street, which was my street for the previous 25 years. Bank, in the section I lived in, was quite successful: no low-income housing, but enough rental units to make it funky. Rideau Street is deader, and it has an Upstairs-Downstairs problem: The poor, who don’t have cars, live on one side; they make use of it. But the better-off, on the other side, use their cars to avoid it, except for the odd “quick run” for something that needs to be “grabbed” quickly. Rideau street doesn’t have enough “eyes.” We had two murders within two weeks along it. It is about to be rebuilt and to be visually improved. I am representing the business association on the design planning; perhaps it will “turn the corner.”
1. What Does “Eyes on the Street” mean?
In two words, Natural Surveillance, which inhibits actions that would be received negatively by other users. People using the street or space look out for each other; no security personnel or equipment are required.
Jane Jacobs introduced the concept in her first, and best known book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961, p. 35) “the streets of successful city neighbourhoods . . . . must have three main qualities: . . . Second, there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. [Amos Rapaport (1987) “Streets are the more or less narrow, linear spaces lined by buildings found in settlements and used for circulation and, sometimes, other activities.”]
A. Buildings facing the street
B. Clear demarcation between the public and private lands
C. Busy sidewalks
D. Good lighting (p 43) [But, she points out that good lighting in a subway station with few patrons produces less safety than several hundred ‘eyes’ in a darkened cinema]
E. Active and “flush” storefronts. [In her 2000 Washington speech, she extolled the practices of new immigrants to start small retail stores in the older suburbs that is adding new vitality to them, “eyes” if you will.]
F. “Broken Window Theory” – timely repairs to the ‘tears’ in the local urban fabric communicates that the place is well maintained, and this discourages wonton acts that further the damage and deterioration. [cf. Kelling, George L. and James Q. Wilson. “Broken Windows”. The Atlantic Monthly. March 1982.] Related to this is “Sidewalk Stewardship” (my own term): each person in the public domain picking up trash and reporting situations to the City or to the building ownership so keep the area in good condition. [I do this, but everything, primarily those items that could contribute to a fall or trip by a fellow pedestrian, or snagging clothing or a bag handle, or dirt that could soil clothes.]
G. “Defensible Space” – Using architecture to give residents more of sense of ownership of the public spaces outside their units, trying to recreate what more naturally happens in single-family housing areas. [Oscar Newman] cf. The Kitty Genovese killing in Manhattan in the 1960s, in which none of the many neighbours who heard her calls for help during her being assaulted by a man, called police, thinking that someone else would do it. Also, the two-yr-old in a China urban street being passed by 17 pedestrian before one stopped to offer her aid, but not before she was run over a second time. She died a week later. But do these people, who don’t own their homes, have the same ‘stake’ in the street in front of their residences? And is what we call protecting safety & security really, for many, protecting property values at least as much?
H. CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design): designing the elements of public areas specific areas to reduce the opportunity spots for crimes to take place or for those waiting for victims to hide.
I. Sightlines – objects, permanent or temporary, that obscures objects of interest to people in or on the perimeter of public areas (Ste-Marie & Cockerton).
J. Signage – information that allows users of public areas to move with certainty toward their destinations or to ‘linger’ longer, knowing how to deal with any emergency (Ste-Marie & Cockerton).
K. Maintenance: – (Ste-Marie & Cockerton)
1a. What about Privacy?
• People use their cars, partly, to assert a private space for themselves when in public. “The car, heated and air-conditioned, is not only a bus but a bedroom, offering far more opportunities for intimacy than the old-fashioned porch or the sofa by the TV screen.” (Chermayeff & Alexander)
• In living areas, the reduced contact between neighbours is mostly attributed to a shift from collaborative living based on sharing things and stories – on the basis that neighbours share a common fate for many issues – and this induces competitiveness and showing off one’s acquisitions, which requires a higher amount of privacy.
• Do people avoid being out on foot and playing an “eyes” role because they fear losing privacy and having to deal with encounters and other impacts of contact with strangers, or even bumping into old acquaintances they hope they would never again meet?
2. “Eyes” also provide other positives that encourage more “eyes”:
• Other people to interact with
• A sign that the street is interesting to others (the best restaurants are the busy ones)
• A source of information about the street and how to reach other destinations
• A sharing of the burden of stewardship that successful streets need.
3. SAFETY VS. SECURITY:
Safety is the absence of ‘accidents’: the harmful consequences of negligence toward another. Security: the harmful consequences of crimes, which are intended to be prejudicial to another. Jacobs refers only to security, even though she uses the terms “safety.” Eyes on the street also contribute to safety. Oscar Newman’s (Defensible Space) also focuses on security. But most literature on danger in public spaces focuses on traffic safety, including, for pedestrians, falls (and having things fall on them).
“Endangerer” vs. “Endangeree”
Our system of justice is meant to protect the latter from the former (e.g., drivers, pedestrians). They have formally been assigned to police, courts, and urban design (CP-TED). But Jacobs’ “eyes on the street” assigns it, informally, to urban structure and the promotion of small-scale street-oriented commerce.
3a. Fear is the result of perceptions of one’s safety or sense of self-worth is at risk via the actions of another or just being sullied by the environment (dirt, noise, vibration). [e.g., my 7-yr-old daughter, dressed in a formal dress, fell into a pile of dirty air filters while egressing our car in a parking garage]. “Fear Proves Itself” (Wm. H. Whyte, in The Social Life of Small Social Spaces, p. 61). “ The best way to handle the problem of undesirables is to make a place attractive to everyone else.” “Taking away half the benches and constructing steel-bar fences at a park that pot dealers had moved in on “effectively cut down the number of ordinary people who used the place, to the delight of the pot dealers, who now had it much more to themselves and their customers.” (p. 63) [Fear can also related to being late or getting lost, or being disrespected or tripping-slipping/falling or getting one’s clothes dirty or being robbed, ] [Barkow, Ben, 1996 Ottawa Pedestrian Safety Conference: pick-pocketting requires enough people for “eyes” but not too many to shield the acts from the “eyes”]
3b. Is to good to talk about safety and security, an issue that accompanies the use of “alternative” modes of transportation and being outside in shared spaces? E.g., Cyclists oppose laws that require the wearing of helmets or other safety measures because it reminds people who don’t cycle that the activity is dangerous. In Europe, this is so complete that few cyclists wear them, thinking them stupid-looking as cyclists are so common that most motorists in cities constantly are alert to their presence. The issue is a kind of “elephant in the room.” As the landmark report, “Why Ontarians Walk, Why Ontarians Don’t Walk More,” (1989) said, . . .
4. The four “crossings” of eyes:
a. Pedestrians watching Pedestrians
b. Pedestrians noticing people in their houses or yard (or on their porch)
c. Building occupants watching those using the streets [Recently, I looked out my window at 7:30 on a Friday to view a bike-theft in progress across our street. The perpetrator had used a bistro table from a neighbouring yard to reach the sign on a metal post, to bend it in two places, making the sign less wide, so the bike lock could be lifted over it. Seeing this tactic, I phoned 9-1-1, and was able to bring the police quickly enough, thanks to my stepping out of my house after he rode away, and reported his escape route, causing him to be arrested within two blocks. The call also allowed the police to bring the bike back to my address, where I identified the location where the bike was parked, whereupon they returned it, and took a statement from me.] [Also, I have twice helped emergency measures staff attending to a woman having an epileptic seizure on a nearby sidewalk. I know the woman, and her health challenge.]
d. Building occupants watching (and hearing) each other
[Gehl, p. 173) uses the example of Venice having very few drownings along its Canal. If someone falls in, there are so many people who would have seen it, and acted to assist.
5. Are all eyes equal?
Do motorists eyes do “work”? [Motorists’ “eyes” seek simple environments; pedestrians seek complex environments – see Rapaport, Amos in Moudon]
Do their passengers?
What about children, seniors? The latter have more time to “populate” public areas and are at home more to look out windows. More likely to be on foot. Does their vulnerability and extra exposure make them better “eyes”? Do they feel “empowered”? [Barkow: ped deaths constitute 15-20% of all traffic deaths; seniors represent 25% of ped deaths, youth under 14 are 50%] Drunks make poor “eyes” despite higher chance of being victims of traffic mishaps.
What about owners of adjacent property or business; are they are outside tending to upkeep?
Are more eyes always better?
5a. Special Places:
• Corners – These are especially important since one can provide surveillance in four directions rather than two (and be seen by twice as many others), because it is an intersection where people will pass each other as well as stand for several seconds near each other, waiting to cross. But both traffic engineers, who want ‘turning radii’ for vehicle movements, and vendors who want to take advantage of the extra ‘exposure’ deduct from the space available for people, it is important for corner buildings to be set back at an angle, giving more space.
• Fences – As Gehl points out, fences actually help the social life of the street. First, they define the place where private meets public, even though the private (the front yard) is really semi-public, and second, the fence, if properly designed, can assist prolonging social contact between people straddling it, by being used for leaning against or even sitting on.
• Squares – These are larger bulges in the sidewalks space, although most often are private in ownership and maintenance, although public – as mandated by planning approvals – in use. Wm. Whyte points out that these spaces work best if open to the elements, have seating, including ledges and stairs that can be sat on easily, and have movable seating, so that groups can arrange for their own needs at any particular time. Movable furniture is rarely stolen because of the natural surveillance of its extensive use (it should also not be too nice or expensive).
• Above-grade, below-grade, around-the-corner, and on-the-main-street retail places – These places add to the vitality of a street for the most devious of reasons: their proprietors are trying to feed off the existing traffic and, because they save on rent by accepting limitations, they add to diversity. Those with prime locations facing the street at street level might feel jealous, but should enjoy the added diversity they bring. Many who operate in these marginal places will move to the prime locations once they are established. [e.g., Records on Wheels in Ottawa, selling from a cart-stand.]
• Parks – These are becoming the dead zones of many communities. Only if they are adjacent to a school do they get used much, since adult presence is considered a minimum requirement by parents. One exception is the dog-walking community. In older parts of downtown, this activity spurs walking, not just in the park, but to and from it; outside downtown, the dogs are driven to the park. And dog-owners are a gregarious bunch, quickly introducing a newcomer all around.
5b. Micro design factors that affect walkability that attract more “eyes”:
• sidewalk discontinuities – these can be too easily tripped over
• height of ledges so that they can be used for seating
• stairs to connect two levels of activity at every decision point (e.g., bridges)
• banning right-turns-on-red, or give peds advanced WALK signals to avoid vehicle-pedestrian conflicts at intersections. Take out right-turn cut-offs which negate the pedestrian-first priority when cars turn by putting a ‘kink’ in their path and takes the ‘kink’ out of the turn for drivers.
• Cleaning building surfaces that clothes come in contact with (the walking surface is a lower priority).
5c. Weather Factors:
• Sun and shade – In northern climes, direct sun is sought; in southern climes, the shade is specifically sought.
• Wind – It should be moderated by the built form, not exacerbated, as is the case with most tall buildings, especially at ground level.
• Temperature extremes do not need to be compensated for as much as is assumed. People do a good job of dressing for conditions (too often the problem is with indoor climates being too cool in summer). The act of walking actually helps the body generate heat.
• Trees – they are important both to offering shade at the times of the year when it is important, but for the first few minutes of a summer rain deluge. Finally, trees provide a means for decreasing wind velocities.
6. Backing up the “eyes”:
• The eyes have to belong to someone who feels their fate is tied to the fate of the street and its other occupants [Jacobs, on page 82, talks about how children learn about the adult practice of looking out for others using their street: Children learn from “the experience of having other people without ties of kinship or close friendship or formal responsibility to you take a modicum of public responsibility for you”.]
• The eyes have to be backed up by others who will jump to action if the eyes report a conditions that requires it.
• The eyes have to be aware of a ‘history’ on the street, so they can interpret what they see accurately. (Context)
• The “raised eyebrow” factor (Atlantic Monthly)
7. Other Factors
• The eyes can be overwhelmed by those passing through who aren’t caring or careful, who treat the stretch of road (and adjacent uses and occupants) as only a form of resistance to their free movement.
• Do “eyes” work at all times? Night as well as Day, Bad weather as well as good?
7a. Building Transparency
• The eyes need clues (‘a sign of life’) when someone needs help (are windows kept uncovered enough to show whether lights are on, and if people are ‘up and about’?)
• The sidewalk should be fully visible from all parts of a store (e.g., this allows a bicycle or tethered dog to be watched or to know when “a ride” has arrived).
• Occupants know when something outside requires their attention.
• [the sensitivity to energy-efficiency has made buildings tighter: noise doesn’t intrude as much, and sunlight is treated as an unwanted intrusion, along with a view of the street; fewer entrances to street.]
7b. Qualities of public places:
• Either control motorized traffic or provide strong separation. The more amelioration of negative factors, the more the spaces will attract people undertaking Jan Gehl’s “optional” and “social” activities (vs. mandatory/necessary). Necessary movements are not influenced by the quality of spaces, and they unfortunately occur only over a few hours of the day, often creating congestion and rushing, neither of which support the quality of “eyes.” Gehl also points to the hierarchy of spaces as part of the surveillance “fabric”: Establishing residential areas so that there is a graduation of outdoor spaces with semi-public, intimate, and familiar spaces nearest the residence also makes it possible to know the people in the area better, and the experience of outdoor spaces as belonging to the residential area results in a greater degree of surveillance and collective responsibility for this public space and its residences. (p. 61).
7c. The Role of the Car:
The car eroded “eyes on the street” in several ways:
• Safety threat eroded walking, and especially crossing the street, reducing the quantity of “eyes”
• Noise and safety concerns pushed new buildings back on property
• Drivers have less attention to share (most is needed to reduced endangerment); reducing the quality of “eyes”
• The widening ownership of cars has caused the corner store to slowly die out, reducing the walking trips outside rush hour (when it is rushed and used primarily to reach transit).
• The lengthening of trips and the greater speeds meant less could be discerned, even with high attention.
What can be done now re: cars to reverse loss of “eyes”?
• Adopt slower speed limits and redesign streets with “traffic calming” (Braaksma 1996) to both increase safety for those moving under their own power, and to remove car-use’s speed (and time-saving) advantages so as to shift modal mixes to convivial end of spectrum; Deformalize traffic controls (taking away the dichotomy between the space for walkers and those using vehicles, known as “woonerf,” “naked streets” or “shared space”) also slows traffic (cf. Hans Monderman in Wikipedia). Intersections should be a focus of their own (Wellar, Walking Security Index, 1998)
• Move to a shared-car regime, in which:
• Users drive less, because fixed costs are shifted to variable costs
• There is a far smaller number of cars to be parked, freeing up land for more intensity and more open space to support walking
• Move to a new parking regime: charge for curb cuts to private parking, and charge for all on-street parking
• Municipality and other agencies responsible for roads (and pathway systems) in cities and towns should adopt comprehensive walking/ped plan with good budget.
8. Why “Eyes on the Street” is So Important
8a. What Else Could be a Surrogate for “Eyes”:.
8b. What is really going on in successful Public Places?
• People watching (and like to make up stories – Engwicht)
• Lots of ledges to sit on, and “Second-storey-ness” (Whyte)
9. Shortcuts that Usually Don’t Work:
• Skyways and Tunnels (plus-15s, minus-15s)
• Street closures and “pedestrianization”
• Video Surveillance (good to convict perpetrators; not good for preventing the crime, show the criminal not care about being detected)
• Block Parents; Neighbourhood Watch; Pace Cars; Walking School Buses (& Bike Trains)
• Enterprise Zones – usually excusing federal taxes and import duties and customs charges on items that are directly exported outside the country)
• Gentrification – Sets up a ‘vicious cycle’ of real-estate jumps, usually started by interesting local starving artists. – Older suburbs ‘adopted’ by new immigrant groups does work nicely, but only if the municipality spends money on street improvements. The shops on the main streets also are forced out by increasing rents and property taxes. • When the new shops, a kind of monoculture of gift shops and trendy restaurants, fail, it is too late to bring back the older shops that died with the rise in occupancy costs. “Success has priced out diversity.” She suggested that a program be created to allow long-time retail business buy their premises, so they would not face the problems of rent/tax spirals. (Jacobs 2000 speech).
• Downtown Megablock Projects: (Roberta Gratz):
• Light Rail and other forms of “Rapid Transit”: These are not working, as they don’t overcome the oxymoron of “rapid” tied to “transit” The only way is to build a subway, which usually is built because the density is too high, rarely to cause the increase in density (Washington DC has been among the few to do it successfully): The subway must also be just 15 feet below ground (which some of Washington’s stations don’t achieve).
9a. Reasons for the drop in the number of “eyes” below minimal levels (each person may define this level differently):
• The elimination/diminution of front porches – and introduction of Air-conditioning to make use of porch a relieve to humid, hot indoor areas. Outdoor activities now relegated to rear yards, with shift of parking to the front of houses (but not on the street)
• Increased importance of privacy while inside private homes and offices (less looking outside) and assumption that those outside are “undesirables” and able only to author bad things.
• Increased use of car, and increased integration of car parking into buildings (no need to walk through public space to/from one’s car)
• Reduced “shame” due growing anonymity in public places & growing distances a person ’roams’
• Increase in electronic transmission to replace real-life distractions with contrived and distant distractions
• Fear of walking. • Avoidance of exertion • Infatuation with speedy travel
• Less reliance on serendipity in our own affairs vs. (over)scheduling things and using car (vs. more serendipitous modes) to travel
• Drivers (and traffic engineers) treat pedestrians as “sources of conflict” rather than as aids to civility and natural surveillance.
• Lower densities and greater setbacks = fewer eyes
• Smaller households; more time away from the house (kids taken with parents, rather than left with a neighbour)
9b. Factors Suggesting a Resurgence:
• Increased yearning for ‘community’ and preference for shopping at small shops along traditional main streets.
• Increased leisure time and income.
• Increased accompaniment of children, due to growing concern for their safety
• Location/location/location is still important, especially in age of GPS and “locational alarms” on smart devices.
10. The Elements as Measurable Quantities: Can We Score a Street or Park (place)?
• Number of people in an average moment
• Their average attention (what else they are doing, perhaps to increase danger, e.g., driving a car), which might be low if they are sleeping (in which case, they become a ‘lightning rod,’ drawing danger from others.
• The level of fear generally felt by participants based on long-standing expectations
11. Developing a Measurable Scale
12. Understanding the Street:
• “Maximize Commerce, Minimize Commotion”
• Complementarity vs. Compatibility in Zoning [Mumford, Highway and the City p. 244] “Where walking is exciting and visually stimulating, . . . The legs will come into their own again, as the ideal means of neighbourhood transportation, once some provision is made for their exercise. . . .. But if we are to make walking attractive, we must . . . scrap the monotonous uniformities of American zoning practice, which turns vast areas, too spread out for pedestrian movement, into single-district zones, for commerce, industry, or residential purposes.”
• “The Seven Scales of Life” and how Walking is part of all of them, but especially for the most common scales at the bottom, where walking serves as the primary mode alone
• Requirements for setbacks, porches, fenestration, parking (re: MASC future)
• “Pressure From Behind” (Driver’s Fear)
• Place vs. Space (using vs. enjoying) (street as meeting place vs. a route to reach a meeting place in an efficient manner)
13. How to Bring Back the “Eyes”
• Benches and ledges galore (worry less about undesirables who use them for sleeping)
• Mix land uses, making short walking trips practical to link them (emphasize complementarity over compatibility) [Can suburbs ever be walkable, even if they are gated?]
14. Case Study: University of Ottawa Campus:
• Reduce cut-through traffic through changing the way the existing grid functions (the streets are on private land, allowing a greater deal of flexibility).
• Increase pedestrian amenities, including connections to adjacent foot-oriented places, such as the Rideau Canal (a UNESCO heritage site), Parliament hill, The Byward Market, and Strathcona Park adjacent to the Rideau River. The campus’ main thoroughfare is a ‘grande allée’ that is solely oriented to walking (even cyclists must dismount and walk their ‘vehicles’).
• Take advantage of the construction of two stations for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that runs along the western flank of the campus.
• Significant increase in bicycling amenities, including a for-fee secure parking facility, and a bicycle-loan bike-repair programs offered by the campus police and student association, respectively.
• Signage at regular intervals, complete with campus maps
NOTE: Do “eyes” also include “ears”?
Noise: Soderstrom [p. 200] points out that noise becomes a factor is city life. Beyond Jacobs’ “eyes” are the community’s “ears.” Noise is something we are turned off by, not just because it hurts the ears and makes it hard to hear normal volumes of more important information, but because it masks the presence of dangers that make themselves manifest through other senses, hearing being our second most important (one that is actually more important to most animals, along with vibrations transmitted to the body through the ground). [Unlike vision, it is omni-directional.] It is emotionally distressing because it represents the use of energy in the creation of a force to do work; it also suggests, especially in the noise made by horns and brakes, of the dangers of the automobile on city streets.
[Sindels, ch. 8] Children take a long time to learn a) what direction a sound is coming from, and b) how to interpret the noise, especially a horn, in terms of whether it means to move or it means to not move (as in the proper interpretation of a bell heard from the rear on a shared-use pathway).
Electric Cars are being criticized for being not noisy enough. The level of noise generated by a vehicle is supposed to be proportional to its mass (e.g., a bicycle is pretty quiet, but so it its mass and level of endangerment).
Traffic noise, for us looking at “eyes” becomes a degradation of sound as an indicator of danger, as it masks other sounds that might be more important as an indicator.
Walkmen and Ipods are devices to mask this ambient noise level to be found on city streets. But it comes with a danger, in that the user can’t hear important sounds (e.g., mixed-use pathways where one is about to be overtaken by another, faster user, from behind). They also might hide the sounds of a person in distress, needing assistance.
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Appleyard, Donald & Mark Lintell (1972) “”The Environmental Quality of City Streets” in Journal of the American Institute of Planners, Vol. 38, #2 (March)
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Brun del Re, Claudio, “Pedestrian Safety on Campus: University of Ottawa Case Study,” in Wellar (1996)
Chermayeff, Serge & Christopher Alexander (1963) Community & Privacy: Towards a New Architecture of Humanism
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———- (1973) Close-up: How to Read the American City
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—– (1999) Street Reclaiming: Creating Livable Streets and Vibrant Communities
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——— transcription of her speech in Washington DC on November 11, 2000 (on the occasion of receiving the Vincent Scully Prize). [On this site]
Kunstler, James Howard (199) The Geography of Nowhere: Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape
———- “Jane Jacobs Interviewed” (Metropolis, July 2001)
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