Journal entry# 8

In unit 7 we covered how the socio-spatial produces difference. We covered four differences that matter, class, family/household status, race/ethnicity and lifestyle. We can observe these differences though out the city of Seattle. One way socio-spatial produces and reproduces class is though relative locations of home and work. Before their use to be company towns, where big companies build towns to sheltered and provide certain lifestyle their employees. This way, the employees don’t have to travel much to get to work.

Although company towns are non-existence now, we can still see similar built-environment around some parts of Seattle. For example, South Lake union and other places close to Amazon headquarter is filled with apartment complex that house Amazon’s employee. More than 18,000 employees work in that area.  Just recently, Amazon bought another block in Denny Triangle. According to the article, “Amazon buys another block in Denny Triangle” the company already leases or owns about 3.2 million square feet of office space in that area and is near a deal to lease Blanchard Plaze. Budget Car Rental, Hurricane café and motel leased to Cornish College of the Arts currently occupies the block. The Cornish college bas been told to vacate the leased motels by mid 2015, this is one consequence of zoning. Another source published just a month says, “Clise [properties] planning 40-story apartment tower near new Amazon campus.” Only certain socioeconomic class can afford high rents on these apartments due its location and view. This is an example of how class-specific property development practices enforce differences.

In Seattle, I’ve also observed race and ethnicity difference. The history of China town or International District in Seattle shows how the race and ethnicity difference is produced through narratives difference by or for dominant interests. In 1880’s Chinese workers were recruited to built railroads and dig coal-mines. Soon after than discriminatory laws restricted immigrations during economic recession. The Chinese community was leveled to build the 2nd ave extension. But in 1900’s, when work began to extend south of Pioneer Square, the city’s major railroad agreed to locate their Seattle passengers’ terminals in the area. Many hotels were built to shelter railroad passengers and workers, which later became Seattle’s Chinatown. In some sense, Chinatown was an immigrant home. Many other immigrants joined this little neighborhood, especially Japanese and Filipinos due to inexpensive housing. Immigrants faced many discrimination and racism, for example, after the Pearl Harbor attack, Chinese were compelled to were badges that declared they weren’t Japanese. Despite all the racism and discrimination, these communities spread through Rainier Valley. This is an example of race/ethnicity produced through resistance to narratives of difference. Also, Chinatown is filled with Asian restaurants and other grocery markets like Uwajimaya and   We can say that it has become a consumption zone. 

Seattle truly has a rich history, and is constantly changing and developing. I think Seattle residences are able to experience different lifestyles within a city. We are known for many things such rain city or Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix.  Each neighborhood or community differs from one another, and it’s never boring. 



The Warrior

The Warriors is about the story of a gang from Coney Island that finds themselves in big trouble while attending a violence-free event at Bronx. The leader of the Riffs, Cyrus, organizes this meeting to unite all minor gangs and work as one organized group to conquer New York. Everything was going as planned, when suddenly a notorious gang member shoots Cyrus, killing him on the spot. They put the blame on the Warrior’s and the angry mob thinks “warlord” Cleon is responsible for his death. The Riffs beat down Cleon, while the other members manage to escape the chaos. Their journey from Bronx to Coney Island is full of obstacles since every gang is in search for them, including police.

This movie is a prominent example of territoriality. Each gang in the movie is representative of the city or town they’ve claimed as their territory. They intimidate and threaten anyone who doesn’t seem to belong in that space. An example of this is when the Orphans disapprove of the Warriors presence in their space. They defend their space by saying “may be you outha show me an invitation, well you come armying down here, invading our territory, no permits, no parley.” The short dialog between them shows that there is competition among subcultures; which gangs has “heavy rep”, the notion of us vs. them. We see each gang have some notion of identity, community, belonging and empowerment. Each gang differs from another. Members of a gang wear same clothing, creating an identity for themselves while differentiating themselves from the larger culture to which they belong. This is also an example of subculture. They lookout and protect one another, this creates a sense of community and belonging. Although the Riffs are considered the most powerful gang, other gangs, even the “low-class” Orphans have a firm sense of unity among themselves. There is a leader present in each gang, empowering them. There is also conflict and contest, both internally and externally. When two different groups compete with one another, the conflict between the Rogues and the Warriors is an example of external contest. We also see competition internally; when the Riif’s killed the Warrior’s “warlord”, Swan, the gang’s “war chef” takes charge of the group, one of the member question his authority.

I think both Herbert Gans and Claude Fischer’s perspective of urban culture can be seen in this movie. According to Gans, one “social disorganization may just be different organization. The gangs, especially the Riffs were well very organized group. They had a strong authority figure, well-disciplined members, and had established a form of communication that reaches large audience: radio station. But the government official associates it with some criminal activity. We see in the movie that, the Warriors, even though they hadn’t committed any crime they are fearful of police officers.

Also, Fischer notes that there will be spatial segregation as avoidance of conflict. In the beginning of the movie, Cleon makes an announcement to his people, “Cyrus sent an emissary this afternoon to make sure. Now Cyrus don’t want anybody packed, he don’t want anybody flexing any muscle. So I gave him my word that the Warriors would uphold the truce.” The main reason Cyrus didn’t want anyone armed is because he knew there was a great chance of everyone just fighting each another. Thus, spatial segregation as avoidance of conflict.


"Think Seattle isn’t diverse? Take a closer look" 





Reason for Seattle’s population boom: 15,000 new jobs and more suburbs.  


Reason for Seattle’s population boom: 15,000 new jobs and more suburbs.  


Urbanization in developing world. Income inequality


Journal Entry 7

Mike Davis’s “Fortress L.A.” shows how the architectural policing of social boundaries and built environment can change the attitude of a space and create differences between socio-economic classes. Davis explains how the electronic technologies and built environment give rise to social polarization in LA. We can see the few examples of that happening in Seattle as well, like the gates communities. The Highlands, Broadmoor, Reed Estate, communities like these, built especially for the wealthy and elite is one example of how built environment creates segregation between social classes. The purpose of these exclusive properties is that it provides security. But is the security in response to an actual threat? “Fear proves itself” Mike explains that, “The social perception of threat becomes a function of the security mobilization itself, not crime rates.” It is simply a way to insulate home values and certain lifestyles.  Unfortunately, being rich means you can avoid encounter with who aren’t, usually these are people of color.

Davis also talks about the destruction of public space to keep “vagrants and other unsuitables” away from the place. For example places like public restrooms. This affects homeless individuals. Lack of public places means they have to rely on private sector. This is essentially wagging war on the poor. According to the article, “Seattle again in market for public toilet” which was written about a year ago says that Seattle is looking to establish more public restrooms in downtown area. Seattle spent estimate of $1 million on each of five high-tech public toilets in 2003, but were sold for about $2500 each on eBay in 2008. They were sold due to drug use, prostitution and other “nefarious activities.”

 The alliance for Pioneer Square partnered with the neighborhood and local developer to propose a pilot project to install “destructible” toilet known as Portland Loo. Estimate of $20,000 a year would be spent for daily cleaning, maintenance and repair.

In Portland this kind of public restroom works and is quite popular. According to the research done by Portland officials shoes that what hadn’t worked in other cities were the expensive and German toilets with retractable toilet seats, automatic steam-cleaning and blow-dry cycle. Unlike Seattle’s toilets, Portland Loo is rather low-tech, with just a flush toilet and hand sanitizer inside. The sink is built outside to inhibit homeless people from misusing the facility i.e drug use, bathing and washing.

Also, putting these toilets where there are lots of pedestrians activities help avoid unwanted activities. It also has steel louvers at the top and bottom to discourage group activities.

Unlike L.A, our city is actually building public restroom. In order to make it easier for people, google map now shows where the public restrooms are through out Seattle. In Seattle, large number of homeless population can be seen but currently there are only about 5-6 restrooms in downtown Seattle that are available. Therefore we can say that the war on the poor hasn’t come to an end just yet.