We live in a diverse world but often times where we live can shelter us from the many different kinds of people that exist. Even in public places we tend to ignore people of a different race, religion or class. It is said but someone we consider our peer we are more likely to acknowledge. Not many environments cultivate a situation where people interact comfortably with other types of people but one such place is what author Elijah Anderson calls “Cosmopolitan canopies” (xiv). According to Anderson a cosmopolitan canopy is “…a respite from lingering tensions of urban life and an opportunity for diverse peoples to come together” (xiv). Areas of open and free interaction between people can only occur in specific locations where there is no clear distinction between what’s yours and what’s mine.
Public areas such as parks creates the best opportunities for cosmopolitan canopies. A park not owned by a private individual and open to all typically fosters this kind of environment. It cannot just be just any park the location is critical. The park cannot be centrally located in an area of wealth or poverty but needs to exist between the two demographics. The park needs to be a dividing line between social groups. This “no man’s land” are ideal for cosmopolitan canopies because it creates a situation where people are sharing a space. It is also important that the area has a common draw such as recreation or closeness to nature that we would find at a park.
I observed the entrance to Forbidden Drive on Bells Mill Road. The location is extremely interesting it is located down in a small valley that is split by the Wissahickon Creek. Up one side of the valley we head towards Germantown Avenue, the twisty road is lined with huge old stone houses owned by wealthy families. Driving up Bells Mill Road the opposite way takes you towards Ridge Avenue which becomes more urban. The creek serves as an almost perfect divider between and urban environment...
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