Streetscapes: a symposium on the future of the streets - The problem

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Seminar, MALVIKA SINGH, Number 636 (2012)



WHAT is the future of the street? In both the popular and critical imagination, the question is coloured by a sense of impending obsolescence, as though the importance of the street as a conduit of social life may well be a thing of the past. Recent experience seems only to confirm this. Infrastructure bends to accept an exploding population of single occupancy vehicles: flyovers and thoroughfares provide ground for unceasing circulation, insulating the movement of vehicles from the discontinuous ebb and flow of street congestion. Retail and leisure are drawn in from the street and subject to new forms of ownership, locating the social life of economic transaction inside closed interior shops and malls, while street hawkers are organized into highly regulated vending zones. Other transformations are less visible, but increasingly ubiquitous. GIS, CCTV and other technologies of mapping and surveillance significantly reshape how the space of the street is inhabited, regulated and contested.