It’s no major engineering feat to create safe urban space. However, it takes careful work and attention to needs and details. I wrote, recently, about the torture of walking Jamaican streets, especially in the corporate area. I’m now in the USA, and will soon be in Europe, and know that both areas pay more than measly lip service to things like ease of access, especially for those with disabilities. The simple point is that everywhere I go has smooth walkways and ramps for those who need wheelchairs. Ironically, that makes life harder for me, because years of sport have taken their toll on my ankles, which suffer from often walking at an angle: it’s easier to walk in the street than the sidewalk.
Yesterday, I visited historic Leesburg, Virginia; founded in 1758. Even on its narrow streets, sidewalks were sizable and well surfaced, and generally clutter-free.
Where my daughter lives, in a newish apartment complex, the paths through the woods are better surfaced that almost any ROAD or SIDEWALK in Jamaica. It’s a matter of workmanship!
It’s also about standards and holding people to them.
It’s about clear visions and seeing those fulfilled. It’s about caring for ALL citizens. The petty partisanship that has been our bread and butter is tiring for how it’s drained most of our lives for the satisfaction of a craven few.
I’ve called what we put up with in Jamaica a ‘disgrace’: it’s about tolerating woefully low standards.
Many developed countries are not pristine but give an impression of cleanliness and order because they outweigh filth and chaos. Go to a concert or football match in England and people’s behaviour and treatment of their surroundings can be truly disgusting. But, afterwards, services come to bear soon afterward to restore order and cleanliness.
We went to watch baseball on Monday evening and peanut trash and food containers littered the seating areas. But, all through the game, garbage bins were being cleared; toilets were being cleaned; surfaces were being wiped. As soon as the game ended, in case the cleaning crew to deal with the seated areas. Sure, baseball may see series of daily games in a stadium, so time is critical in getting things back in shape, but that’s not the driving reason. Garbage, like a sour taste, spoils many nice things.
At some stage in our development, we have to collectively accept that each of us acting well is what makes our living areas stop being overtaken by neglect.
We also must begin to stop accepting servings of crap (from political people) and thinking they’re giving us caviar. Excuse my French! 😩