How Material Things Contribute Towards Differences on a Street.

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Taking into consideration that ‘difference is not the same as inequality’ (Blakeley et al., 2009, p. 24), this essay intends to look at KÖ and outline how the material things contribute towards differences with reference to City Road; deriving from the premise that the material assets of a street can generate either an inclusive or exclusive interaction, favouring some and not others.

Königsalle, known by its nickname, “Kö, is the most beloved upscale commercial street in Germany (Welt online, 2010). On one side of the street we have stores from the most expensive brands in the world and on the other, a mix of baroque buildings which host a different number of businesses. Being seen walking along or visiting its stores is denotative of a unique social status. Everything along the Kö is designed to be in accordance to and promote an upscale social lifestyle.

The material things on City Road, while performing a more literal function, also contribute to tangible objective differences when favouring, for example, pedestrians over drivers (e.g. the red tarmac offers pedestrians an extra safety measure when crossing, while taking away space from the drivers); parking is also a critical matter, generating therefore, economic consequences for the local shops (‘Material Lives’, 2009, scene 1). Another relevant point is the fact that, City Road social appearance, along with its material assets usage, changes considerably throughout the day, making it almost a different street by nightfall (e.g. from a busy commercial street during the day to a ‘party haven’ at night, when it is taken over by young adults) (‘Making social lives on City Road’, 2009, Scene 8). Such an absolute change does not occur on the Kö.

On the Kö, the very same material things, should not only perform the most frugal of the functions, but also be in accordance to what the street stands for, thus, being an active part of the process of creating objective tangible differences -like in City Road,...
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