City Road

Category: Other

Outline how material things favour the activities of some groups of people over others on a street you know.

We live in ‘an age of constant change,’ (Dimbleby, 2007) where materialism shapes and orders our daily routines. It governs how we function and interact, as well as highlight the inequalities that exist amongst us. This essay will seek to explore such group differences by examining the ‘material life’ on Polegate High Street and make comparisons where possible to City Road.

Polegate is a small town and civil parish, located on a ridge to the South Downs. It is no architectural gem, and the high street itself is rather styleless, much like City Road, yet it remains a road junction to the A22 and is a railway hub for people wishing to travel to London. Therefore in part, Polegate’s populous is made up of young professionals and families who require the convenience of a station and more affordable living, with the rest made up of retirees. It is the latter with which Polegate is mostly associated with.

One of the observations social scientists make is how the street architecture dominates and affects different groups of people and how the environment is divided up so that people and things compete for space. (Blakeley et al., 2009) What is very visible in Polegate and evident of considered town planning for this demographic is the amount of benches on display. They are in abundance and are situated where physically possible: on either side of the rail crossing, outside the church, the town hall and on the shop promenades, as well as between the station and the Co-operative.

This fight for space (‘The Street’, scene 1) is evident north of the crossing, where cars and pedestrians are in contention, but not cyclists. A segregated cycle lane is in place twenty yards from the small roundabout at the top of the high street, which directs cyclists across the road, bypassing the roundabout and navigates them through the pelican crossing onto the cycle...