You’re gone

You left for good

You’re out of my life

But your still there in my thoughts

you still linger like before

the things I did to hurt you, the sins I committed

they still haunt me and you’re gone

You were never there when I needed you,

Please get out of my head, I need these thoughts to stop

You left, you hurt me and now you’re gone.

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Road less taken

I’ve left the baggage

I’ve left the clouds

I see a new door open

It’s the door I want to take

But it’s not a road most taken

It’s a road for the few

But this road is my life

This is my passion, I’ve made my decision

This road less taken is the road I will travel

 

Love life

There he stood with his glasses, waiting for the love of his life:

Excuse me, Sir?

Yes, Damitri?

Madam has just left and sent you this note

As he opened the note he was filled with emotions. What did she write? Where is she? Is she leaving him?

“Dear David, I have to go back to my father’s village, he needs me and he’s sick. He has no one to take care of him. He is all alone. I need to go. Please do not follow me. I do not know when I will see you again”

David was confused, surprised as it was all unexpected. What has just happened? He had no idea what to do. Leaving her would be what she wants, but it wouldn’t solve the problem. It wouldn’t bring back their love. But it’s a family crisis and he didn’t have her address. They had just dated for two weeks. But he knew he loved her. How could he go on with his life without thinking about her and her laughter? Her enthusiasm and kindness? It would be impossible

He went to the pub that night, he hoped to get some solace in the drink and he shut his head and started drinking. He didn’t think about anything. The bartender wanted to speak to him but he wouldn’t speak. He was baffled.

There was nothing he could do. He had to just get over her and move on.

Plenty of fish in the sea. But it’s never that easy is it?

THE END

People not traffic

The hustle and bustle of the city catches my eye

I ty to walk but the traffic is maddening

The footpaths are torn, roads are unclear

Everything is oblique and opaque

I sigh and continue to walk

This city, I think to myself, so poor, crowded and desperate

but yet so energetic and deceiving

But I reach my destination and forget the road

Stay in my destination for a while and when I return home, the madness starts again

It is a walker’s hell but a driver’s heaven

Let more cities be built for the people and not for traffic

This is the plight of the developing world.

The Benefits of “Eyes on the Street”

According to Jane Jacobs, more people on our streets means safer neighborhoods

There must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. The buildings on a street equipped to handle strangers and to insure the safety of both residents and strangers, must be oriented to the street. — Jane Jacobs

As I was reading Jane Jacobs’ book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), it inspired me to think about the importance of city streets. City streets are important places where people can come together and get to know each other in the neighborhood. As Jacobs states, her neighborhood in New York City, was very accessible for people, and that almost all people knew one another’s daily activities, which created a sense of social cohesion and security on the street. This is Jacobs’ example of East Village in 1961, where she knew most of her neighbors and activities taking place throughout the day.

Jacobs refers to the concept of “eyes on the street” which is the activity taking place in city streets that keeps the movement and security of the street intact. She suggests that where there is a crowd of people, our streets are safer to use because if someone is in trouble the eyes on the street are ready to assist and protect from danger. She refers to this constant mix of strangers on the street as an “intricate ballet” or a dance where everyone contributes to the well being of the street in making it a liveable place.

Many cities lack this friendly congenial atmosphere that Jacobs’ neighborhood had and to this day her critique of urban planning is not solved with thin suburban neighborhood and urban sprawl still in existence. She suggests that living in high density neighborhoods increases the social character of public space because it makes it more convenient for people to get to know one each other.

“When there are people present in a public space such as city streets, it strengthens the space and inspires social cohesion.”

This led Jacobs to advocate for mixed-use neighborhoods where she suggests that the “eyes” get stronger when there are a range of activities taking place on the street. She suggests pubs and shops are a good strategy to maintain neighborhood safety. When there are people present in a public space such as city streets, it strengthens the space and inspires social cohesion.

Jacobs gives the example of Boston’s North End neighborhood, which was a small “slum” but had very well used streets where the residents felt safe to use the streets on a daily basis, creating a vibrancy in the area. She suggests we need more neighborhoods like North End where people’s activity and close proximity to one another is important.

Although Urban Planning has changed since 1961 when Jacobs first wrote the book, there is still a lot that could be improved, especially when it comes to city streets. People often avoid the use of streets that are unsafe or unused, however, instead of demolishing these areas, there is a need to bring in people and make it safe rather than avoiding them.

Jacobs’ concept of eyes on the street is still beneficial for today’s public spaces in order to make them more welcoming and beneficial for people to use. Since Jacobs’ book there has been many more public spaces being erected akin to her philosophies. People use the public spaces and city streets a lot more to interact with other people today and there is an idea that public spaces are useful for our cities, as the public uses them on a daily basis. Many scholars have taken Jacobs’ ideas and put them into practice. This includes Jan Gehl, who is an active advocate for public spaces in support of Jacobs’ ideas.

Therefore, if the concept of eyes on the street is utilized well, it can really change the way architecture and city planning are used to create the vibrancy of not only our streets but also public space on the whole in today’s cities.

The Importance of Public Spaces

The Importance of Public Spaces

“A good city is like a good party — people stay longer than really necessary, because they are enjoying themselves”

— Jan Gehl

Public spaces are an important asset to our cities. They provide people many opportunities to come together and engage with the community. If public spaces are successful they are inclusive of the diversity of groups present in our cities and create a social space for everyone in the society to participate in.

There are many factors that contribute to a successful public space, some factors (supported by Project for Public Spaces) are:

The accessibility of the space

This includes how welcoming the space is and whether people can access the space the way they feel comfortable in. This includes disability access and making a space for everyone regardless of their circumstances to be a part of the society through public space. One good way to ensure public spaces are accessible is to provide good seating in them so that people can enjoy the space for a long time and seek respite (as illustrated in the images below).

Times Square

The comfort of the space

This is the ability for people to be themselves in the public realm. One of the greatest joys of going to a public space is so that people can express themselves fully. This might involve meeting new people, rekindling with old friends, participating in activities in the space or interacting with the public art in the space. These are all ways that people can be comfortable in the public sphere. One example of being comfortable in a public space is engaging with public art. The Bean Sculpture in Chicago is a great example of where people are comfortable to express themselves. Public art tends to create a very comfortable atmosphere for people to express their true selves and interact with the objects while bringing out the best in people.

The Bean Sculpture
Jeppe Hein’s Seating Sculpture

Creating sociability

Many scholars in human geography have explored this idea of ‘sociality’ in the public sphere. It is basically the interactions people have in the public space and about the connection this forms between the person and the space. This might include the social networks people form on the street or city squares. Creating an opportunity for people to meet new people in the public space is important because this adds to the sociability of public space. Having social events in the public space such as music concerts or hosting movies are also a great way to get people to engage with one another. This creates an intricate connection between the space and the people in it forming a sense of ‘togetherness’ in the space as stated by Doreen Massey.

Movie at a public space

Project for public spaces has illustrated these factors in the following diagram which explains the concept of a successful public space.

This indicates that when urban planners and architects construct public spaces, they should keep the above factors in mind in order to make it successful.

There are many examples of successful public spaces around the world, from Trafalgar Square in London to New York’s High Line Park and Times Square, which embody all the factors mentioned above. While there are many other ways to be creative in public space, these are just a few examples to increase the overall quality of public spaces.

Therefore, public spaces should be a valued asset where cities embrace the concept of creating more vibrant and welcoming spaces for everyone to use. This can also be a powerful way to create more positive environments for people to assimilate and come together as a society as described above.