Mark Francis’ reading, “The Making of Democratic Streets” served a great purpose in understanding the importance of city streets. He used the term “democratic streets” to explain the value of community. In his words, these streets “have meaning for people, invite access for all, encourage use and participation, are loved, and are well cared for by their users.” I like the idea of streets as a social scene and one that reflects diversity. I think it is important to feel connected and involved in your neighborhood. Balance is imperative because it provides opportunities for multiple generations, but sometimes city streets are too dangerous for young people to enjoy the city life, and that is where everything becomes problematic. While reading this article I was reminded of my childhood and how we often played in the gates of our large building complex. It was not the housing projects but it was a big building with an enclosed gate for residence. Whenever we played outside we had to stay in the distance, in the gate, and if we left we were to return before the street lights came on because that was when most of the crime happened in Englewood. Chicago’s South-side was no Disney Land but as a child most days were fun to me. This reading encouraged me to think about why certain rules did not apply to every neighborhood and why there were restrictions-we did not have a strong democratic street. We needed balance, love, and access. There was conflict and talent that was combined once a year in a positive way, which was the Black Club Party. It was the one time when we did not stress too often about street crime, because most people were competing in street dance offs, cheer squads, and other forms of talent against their rival. Today, it is more crime affiliation than community love, which was highlighted in the reading.
The Roseto Mystery reading about outliers was one of my favorites because it demonstrated how a healthy community can lead to a healthier and longer life, particularly, in the Italian culture. I enjoyed reading about the Italian Enclaves in the city but I also understand that this was a form of privilege that is not granted to every cultural group. The Italians were able to adapt, create, and provide opportunities for economic and social advancement because they had an established community. It was interesting to see a new form of presentation about health, one that involved community. My lesson from this read was, “think about health in terms of community…appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”