Drawing from what I have learned from the study materials, I will be looking at High Street in Hirwaun and outlining some of the inequalities in comparison to City Road. Even though both City Road and High Street are over 200 years old and began as just country lanes, they have very different layouts. City Road is much longer with complex junctions and High Street is only 20 meters long with a simple layout. High Street is, though, one of the major roads through the village lined with a few businesses such as a police station, post office, pub, café and chip shop, shoe shop, pharmacy, health centre, a library and hairdressers. It is most busy during the day with the pub and chip shop attracting customers in the evening.
A visible inequality on High Street is the road infrastructure. There is a local, free car park situated behind the library yet people choose to park their cars on the double yellow lines outside the shops. This not only affects the flow of traffic, it also causes more upset to pedestrians trying to cross the road. The lack of pedestrian crossing areas has an adverse effect on the pedestrians and differs from the advantages that pedestrians have on City Road. (‘making social lives on City Road’, 2009, scene 7) Dr. Simon Bromley informs us “conflicts over the use of public space and the different ways that might be ordered, these are things that one can see on any street in any part of the country.”
‘The material world is also involved in shaping difference and equality. Difference in age can become an inequality when the buildings and streets are designed for those who find it easy to get around’ (Blakeley et al, 2009). This is also true for those who have physical disabilities. I have noticed that admission to some of the businesses can exclude the people who are less able. Unlike City Road which has wide pavements and easy access to shops, the businesses in High Street have Steep steps and narrow doorways. This would exclude someone say in a wheelchair from being able to access that shop or business.
Although the council has recently renovated the path ways making them smooth and even and they have also raised the kerbs to meet the ‘low rider’ buses this still excludes the patrons from shopping locally. Dr. Javan Byford explains (‘making social lives on City Road’, 2009, scene 5), “that tensions are always present in society and they are never fully resolved because as one kind of tension is new ones emerge.” She is telling us that inequalities will always exist. This is true in both City Road and High Street as parking and access for the less abled continues to be a problem for the community which frequent these streets.
‘Making social lives on City Road’ (2009) Making Social Lives [DVD], Milton Keynes, The Open University. Blakeley, G., Bromley, S.,Clarke, J., Raghuram, P., Silva, E. and Taylor, S. (2009) Learning Companion 1, Introducing the social sciences, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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