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My Street Essay

My Street Essay

Take a half an hour walk through the city I live in and you will realise that it isn't designed for you as a pedestrian; it has undoubtedly lost its human element. You feel like an alien in your own world, trying to make your way through an entanglement of spaghetti-like highways. Your thoughts are drowned by the sounds of the fast paced spaceships soaring past you. You are in a non-place. A place of nowhere. A black hole. A place we humans once called a street. As an architect in this extraterrestrial world I put forward the following essay as an attempt to solving this problem.


In order to be successful in our endeavour I believe we need to break free from the stereotypical notion of the street, a street that is predominantly used for transport. We need to start seeing the street as something more than simply a connection between two points. The street needs to become a destination in itself. It seems ironic that this notion of a street, one whose primary (mal) function of transport, is most fixed in the minds of so called "first world" thinkers, thought that is presumably forward thinking and innovative.


In the first three weeks of studying architecture I participated in an exercise whereby we documented a portion of the infamous Maltese town of Birgu. I remember many of my classmates questioning the purpose of such a task. They didn't think they could learn anything from these apparently uncivilized primitive settlements. They knew it all. For me it was a different experience, I left there in awe, it made me realise how uncivilised we "privileged" whites really were. I think it was here where I first appreciated the potential of what a street could really become. There were kids playing, women selling fruits, clothing being displayed, chickens running around, people were actually using the street, it was a destination, a place in itself, very unlike the lifeless non-place I was used to. We need to tame our egos and realise that perhaps we can learn from other cultures, especially those that haven't been hit by the modernist's hammer.


I come from a place where legislation is in a perpetual state of schizophrenia, constantly changing and altering to meet the needs of the new person in charge. As a result two opposing types emerge: streets where everything is very set and organised to a clinical albeit lifeless extent, to streets that form the backdrop to our organic everyday human activities. Activities such as street trading, playing, sitting, drinking, eating and sleeping seem to bring a needed ray of light to our contemporary dark streets. I suggest using the streets beyond the simple function of transportation. In addition to looking at other contemporary cultures, I believe there are clues available in history as well. By looking to the past we can take traditional principles and reapply them to our contemporary needs. I think postmodernism is a poor attempt at that; it is a nostalgic return to the past that simply...

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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. After several years of thankless search and deep skepticism (I have taken too many bikram yoga classes with too many Tom's of Maine users,) I have finally discovered a completely natural, aluminum-free deodorant that actually works! Let the choir sing! Let your armpits breathe a sigh of sweet-secented relief! Let the under arms of your pricey cotton white shirts stay white as freshly-fallen snow!

So, it's by a brand called Bali Secrets. The "original" version, which is the scent I use, rolls on smooth, isn't sticky and is currently available on Amazon.com for a fairly reasonable 14 dollars. It's  a big bottle, and smells kinda herbal, a tangible whiff of joss stick about it, I suppose, but not in an overpowering way (though I nurture hippy sensibilities generally, in this regard, so you may feel differently). There are also rose, aloe, sandalwood and unscented versions to try.

After reading some pretty scary stuff about the nasties found in regular anti-perspirants, not to mention getting super frustrated with my beloved white t shirts yellowing under the armpits, I have been trying to find a good natural deodorant for years, experimenting with, among others, the aforementioned Toms (I swear this actually made me sweat) this Soapwalla cream (works, but messy) and Dr Haushcka (ok, but needed a couple of applications a day to feel fresh, and super pricey). So, needless to say, I was only cautiously optimistic when my first bottle of Bali Secrets arrived in the mail. That day, I put it to the test via a full day of work followed by an hour of barre class. To my great surprise, 10 hours and an hour of intense exercise later, I still smelled fresh as a daisy. I couldn't believe it, and am so excited by my discovery that I have been furtively pulling it out of my bag at parties to extol its wonders and virtues (obviously a completely NORMAL thing to do). Oh also, I found about it from my friend Ethan, an artist who carts around giant paintings and sculptures on a daily basis, so this is 100 per cent as suitable for sweaty dudes as it is for the gals. Isaac has also been trying it out and loves it.

So there you have it, darling readers. May you all run off into the horizon with a bottle of Bali Secrets in your bag and your priciest while silk shirt upon your person. 

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