Monday, March 23, 2009

Public space/social space in West Oakland

In European cities people use public space as socializing space more freely than in American cities, I think. Americans tend to think of public space as single activity only: streets are for cars, parks are for family and dog outings, sidewalks are for walking if you are unfortunate enough not to have a car. If people hang out on a sidewalk, it's called loitering and generally frowned upon. In West Oakland people use public space as an extension of their living room more freely, and that's something that makes it feel more European to me.

Here is a nice public/social space near 28th and Magnolia. It made me immediately feel like sitting down and having a cup of coffee. Thanks Marie for letting me take the photo and use it.

3 comments:

magdalen said...

sussu, that's about 3 blocks from my old warehouse. back then, the standard outdoor socializing in that hood was old dudes playing cards, day and night, outside a burned-down house next to the bodega. but it was very social.

Michael said...

Heck, *everywhere* outside the U.S. seems to use public space more socially. Asia, Africa, the Middle East, as well as Europe. And in the U.S., in African-American, Latino, and Asian communities it is very common, too. Not sure why white middle-class Americans shun informal social spaces.

jennconspiracy said...

I hate the uselessness of front yards - either turn them into vegetable gardens or put a darned table & chairs out there!

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