Our next project for Integrative Seminar/Studio, entitled Bizarre Bazaar, looks at the ways in which we engage with our city spaces through popular markets. We often see markets as areas of trade and commerce but market spaces are the pulse of any city – languages, culture, impressions, histories and stories converge in the market. Our project celebrates these market spaces through an engagement with communities, people, languages and commerce.
We have chosen markets that are known for a particular thing – whether it is fabric or beads, vegetables or animals, flee markets and paper; these markets speak about the best and the worst of our cities. Students are encouraged to encounter these places and dig past the first impressions drawing out and teasing the nature of the city itself.
Here is an essay by Jane Jacobs which should help us to read the nature of the sidewalk and the ways in which it comes to represent so much of what we see but do not notice.
“A celebration of the unplanned, improvised city of streets and corners, Jacobs’s is a landscape that most urban-planning rhetoric of the time condemned as obsolete and slummy, something to be replaced by large-scale apartment blocks with balconies and inner-courtyard parks. She insisted that such Corbusian super blocks tended to isolate their inhabitants, depriving them of the eyes-on-the-street crowding essential to city safety and city joys. She told the story of a little girl seemingly being harassed by an older man, and of how all of Hudson Street emerged from stores and stoops to protect her (though she confesses that the man turned out to be the girl’s father). She made the still startling point that, on richer blocks, a whole class of eyes had to be hired to play the role that, on Hudson Street, locals played for nothing: “A network of doormen and superintendents, of delivery boys and nursemaids, a form of hired neighborhood, keeps residential Park Avenue supplied with eyes.” A hired neighborhood! It’s obvious once it’s said, but no one before had said it, because no one before had seen it.”
Jane Jacob’s Street Smarts, New Yorker, 26th of September 2015