One-off High Streets polished off by globality
by Paula Silván
This is about the joy of discovering a city by walking through its streets, especially its main High Streets, the hub of the commercial activity which is linked to social and cultural expressions. Within a city, there are several pathways to follow, such as the cultural pathway, the social, the visual, the business, nature, etc, but its High Streets always helped to define very well a culture or subculture identity.
Even if you are foreign or local, stroll around the High Streets is a must visit to do. Currently, the urban scenario has changed drastically when it refers to the new configuration of the High Streets. This new set of town planning is a consequence of globality. Nowadays, pedestrians witnesses the same shop arrangements everywhere, due to the franchising concept, and what the pedestrians find? They see a cloning system of these streets everywhere, they find no difference between the High Streets of one city to another, and does not matter whether if you are in Europe or Asia. What you get in your own town it exists in the other part of the globe. Although this argument has a point of advantage and comfort, the sad part of the story is that those streets that were very interesting to visit once, because they were a well-performed projection of a town personality, are not unique anymore. The uniqueness, not only came from the location within the architectural context, but came from the one-off interiors and styling of the shops, came from the products and services offered and its local design, and what is more, came from on how locals and foreign pedestrians interacted with all just mentioned.
By observing all this interaction, it came the learning and the understanding of the social, the cultural, and the economic of that urban scenario, i.e., it came to know cultures, and that was a priceless privilege. Unfortunately, discovering these things by walking in a city is disappearing dramatically. The town planning clone system for commercial areas is making imperceptible what was the perceptible and the beautiful aesthetic of a city.
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