SOCIAL SCIENCE Essay Example
Inequality and Differences in Streets
Drawing from the lessons learned in class, I will outline the inequalities and differences between City Road which we studied in class and Linthorpe road. The second is found in Middlesbrough and contains an arrangement of services and business activities such as shops which all aim at exploiting the market. Before it became the road it is today, it used to be a lane that was used as a route to connect the entrance point of Linthorpe and the center of the town of Middlesbrough (The birth of Middlesbrough, 2015 par 17). In the 1950s, the road was not very much developed, and there was only a few number of business activities operating in the area. After 1990, the road had developed to be the primary shopping street in the industrial town.
The road is divided into two parts by a major junction. The upper end of the road can be referred as the more upmarket as it is located close to the major town center. This end of the road houses trendy bars and expensive hair salons as well as lucrative department stores Triads and Psyche. The end is mostly operated and visited by the well-off people in the society during business hours because of the services which they provide.
The lower end, on the other hand, is close to Linthorpe and is dominated by the shops of individuals such as African Individual and John’s Pet Shop. Most enterprises in the area are cultural and fast food shops. However, there are also extensive centers as well as charity shops. Here, inequality is evident at the upper end of the road contains well-established businesses that relatively generate more income than those at the lower end. The well-off people in the society are also likely to visit the expensive bars and salons at the upper end than those on the lower end. Additionally, Linthorpe road is similar to City road when it comes to the competition for space between pedestrians and vehicles (‘The Street’, 2009 scene 1).
The city has developed over the past years with more businesses being set up in the area. It has been modernized to include traffic controls procedures and zebra crossings to reduce traffic jams. Posts showing the different speed limits have also been put set up to reduce the number of accidents throughout the street. The number of parking spaces is few, and double yellow lines can be seen in most parts of the street. Although pedestrians seem to have more authority and priority when it comes to access and controlling, Linthorpe road still possesses its historical role of connecting Linthorpe to the industrial town of Middlesbrough.
However, wealth inequality remains to be most prominent inequality in the area. Those with vehicles seem to take pedestrians for granted as they assume that they have more importance to the society. The wealthy especially those residing in the outskirts of the city tend to think low of the people that do not have well-established businesses in comparison. Furthermore, the rich and the poor are not treated with equal respect when they visit restaurants in the area. Additionally, the upper part of the road is almost inaccessible to individuals with low consumption capacities because of their income.
The lower end is also different from the upper end in that during the day, most of the businesses operating in the upper part mostly target those individuals with a substantial amount of wealth. For instance, Triads and Psyche among other similar brands of businesses employ personal assistants to attend to customers. Other businesses such as salons and shops can also be found between these stylish bars and expensive restaurants hence providing their wealthy customers with a single place to do all their shopping. Furthermore, shopping at such places provides these individuals with a high status in society, and they continue to do so to make the society think highly of them all the time (Blakeley et al., 2009, pg.31).
Individuals of lower class only use the upper end of Linthorpe as a route to the town of Middlesbrough as they observe the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy in the area. Even at night, the people of lower class can only visit the upper part for leisure walks, but they cannot afford the services provided in the area. At this time, the rich use the place to socialize and eat with others of their class. The prices remain high and out of reach to the lower class people. Unlike this end of the road, the lower part houses many individual businesses, family shops as well as small crafts enterprises. There are also few food markets and multi-cultural businesses which provide goods and services to the people of different nationalities in the area.
The businesses not only provide diverse goods to attract customers from other ethnic minorities but also creates a friendly atmosphere that fosters a sense of belonging (‘Evidence in the social sciences’ 2009, track1). Centers to help the poor and homeless people are also well established in the area and include outreach center, a charity, and a one-dollar shop. However, this upper end also houses a pool bar and a working man’s club which contributes to the higher crime rate in the area. The businesses are perceived to contribute to the high crime rate because they provide services to both the homeless and drug dependents.
The difference arises where the lower part of the Linthorpe road is used by the rich only in rare instances just like the upper end is rarely used by the low-class people (‘The Street’, 2009 scene 1). During the time of major events, the road is mostly overcrowded hence giving the people on wheelchairs and pushchairs a hard time. These people are mostly ignored and in most cases, they are stopped by the mob who pass in front of them to access the shops.
Age differences cause another inequality in the area, that is, there exist a conflict between the youth and the older generation. Many elderly citizens, as well as middle-aged people, find Linthorpe unsafe particularly at night. In the upper end of the street, groups of young men walking at night are seen as threats regardless of their behavior. The old, especially the rich, often feel endangered, and they end up avoiding being outside during late hours. This case is similar to that of City Road where the same habit was experienced at the Municipal Club. However, the behavior is hypocritical because the same elderly people used to intimidate the elderly when they were young (‘Connecting lives, 2009, scene 1).
From a general point of view, it is clear that the inequalities in the City-road are similar to those of Linthorpe especially when it comes to competing for space between the pedestrians and other road users. The two roads are also similar because they have rich multiculturalism, they are constantly undergoing changes and offer diverse opportunities and activities to the society regardless that they are faced with many differences and inequalities. Connection of lives is clear as shown in the cultural restaurants and shops. There is also ordering of lives as demonstrated by the control of traffic as well as speed limits. There are also differences between City Road and Linthorpe road. In the later road, material lives are well-established with a clear division between those able to consume and those who cannot. The rich can afford such places because of their wealth hence, the rest are excluded from these environments because their finances do not allow.
The thing that I found most interesting with the assignment is when I had to look at the structure of the streets and analyze the inequalities that exist in the society. The task gave me a new point of view in the society and the diverse aspects that people take for granted. One of the areas where I would like my facilitator to feedback on is referencing. Although I made efforts in the area, I still found it challenging to work from the DVD; hence I decided to print out the transcripts. Also, I would like the facilitator to respond to my choice of street. My residential street seemed to be the best example to compare to City road since the latter road had many inequalities and differences that can be analyzed.
Furthermore, the assignment did not have an absolute right or wrong answer, but I worked to make the information from the streets relevant to our course materials. I welcome feedback on these areas because they were challenging especially when I had to think about inequalities in the road, which is something I had never thought about before. Furthermore, referencing was a bit difficult since I am used to giving sources from books, academic journals, and websites among others rather than DVD and audio material.
Response to Quinn: High Street
The street resembles and at the same time differs from Linthorpe Street in one way or the other. Just like High Street, the environment of Linthorpe road changes as one moves from one end to the other. The upper end is dominated by large businesses that charge high prices hence dominated by wealthy people. At this point, one feels they are in a classy environment. However, the lower end of the street is dominated by small businesses for people that are not well-off very much. Just like High Street where the east end is not well maintained, the lower end of Linthorpe Street is as clean and well-developed like the upper end.
However, the two streets differ in that High Street is busy during peak hours and weekends while Linthorpe road is mostly busy during business hours on weekdays. Most of the customers in the lower end of Linthorpe road operate their businesses in the same area. However, business at the upper end does not change at peak hours and most of the time; they close at six o’clock. Furthermore, it is not perceived to be safe to walk on Linthorpe road after dark. Unlike High Street, most of the housing facilities in Linthorpe Street are located a distance away from the road, and the street is reserved for businesses.
Blakeley, G., Baghuram, P., And Taylor, S. (2009) Learning Companion 1, Introducing Social Sciences: part one, Milton Keynes, The Open University
‘Evidence in the social sciences’ (2009) Making Social Lives [Audio CD], Milton Keynes, The Open University
‘The street’ (2009) Making Social Lives [DVD], Milton Keynes, The Open University.
‘The Birth of Middlesbrough’ (2015) http://www.englandsnortheast.co.uk/middlesbrough.html/ paragraph 17
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