Urban Sociology Essay

965 words - 4 pages

Jacobs explores cities as living things and ecosystems, suggesting that, with time, streets and neighborhoods function as changing organisms in response to the way people interact with them. She further explains that, city sidewalks, neighborhoods, government and the economy functions together in the same way as the ecosystem hence creating a better understanding on how they could be structured better. She says that "a city sidewalk is nothing. It is an abstraction. It means something, only in conjunction with the buildings and other uses that borders it, or borders other sidewalks very near it". Streets and their sidewalks are said to be the most important organs of a city. These are the determinants of how the city looks in that, if they look interesting, the city looks interesting, and the same case applies if the streets and sidewalks look dull. (Jacobs 29)In her explanation of safety in the cities, Jacobs postulates that, "if streets are safe from barbarism and fear, the city is thereby tolerably safe from barbarism and fear. When people say that a city, or a part of it, is dangerous or is a jungle, what they mean primarily is that, they do not feel safe on the sidewalks". She also argues that, sidewalks, their uses and users are all active participants in the arena of civilization versus barbarism in the cities. Safety in the cities is said to be the task of the city streets and their sidewalks and that, public peace cannot be kept primarily by the police but also by a network of voluntary controls and standards among the people and enforced by them. (Jacobs 30&32)Jacobs approves a high concentration of people as being important for city life neighborhoods, economic growth and prosperity though it is not enough to produce a vibrant community. She dispelled myths concerning high concentration of people and says that, "the problem of insecurity cannot be solved by spreading people out more thinly, trading the characteristics of cities for the characteristics of suburbs. If this could solve danger on the city streets, then Los Angeles should be a safe city because superficially, Los Angeles is almost all suburban…. Los Angeles crime figures are flabbergasting…. Los Angeles stands so pre-eminent in crime that it is in a category by itself. And this is markedly true of crime that makes people fear the streets". An example of a safe city street is given as the streets of the North End of Boston which are heavily and constantly used by people of all kinds of races and backgrounds. Jacobs conclude that, "a well used city street is apt to be a safe street. A deserted city street is apt to be unsafe." (Jacobs 32)There are various determinants on whether a street is well used or shunned. City streets need to be equipped to handle strangers and to create...

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