The street I will be focusing on is Leystone High Road which is located in East London. Just like City Road which we leant about in the module and larger East London area. It is also one of the busiest streets in the region. Apart from the rows of different shops that cater to people’ general, and specific needs, Leystone High Road is home to many restaurants, coffee shops, public houses among other structures. The street has a lot of similarities to City road as will be seen in this essay.
Leystone High Road is a major street and as such, it has a wealth of material resources. However, just like City Street, the material things on Leystone High Road seem to favor the activities of some groups of individuals over those of others. Leystone High Road is used by people of different ages for different purposes or reasons, for instance to get from one place to another, to pick up groceries or do some shopping, to meet friends and also to socialize. On a normal weekday morning, the road is filled with people of the older generation, meeting up in the street’s coffee shops and cafes to have breakfast. The road’s s coffee shops and cafes are interiorly designed to exhibit a calming atmosphere where visitors can feel relaxed as they sip their favorite beverage. The walls of these cafes are also filled with signs and posters about what is happening in the community. The cafes and coffee shops, therefore, seem to favor people of the older generation who like to have a quiet time in a serene environment as they consume beverages and snacks. The cafes in essence provide a community center for this group of citizens. Just like it is expressed in ‘The Street”, this can be seen as “making and repairing a society through creating a sense of community” (The Street, 2009, scene 3).
At 4.p.m when most schools finish, the road is filled with young people. This is the time when take-away restaurants like Burger King and McDonald’s start to open. The young like to “hang out” at these take away and fast food restaurants as they share stories about their experiences in school. Apart from the restaurants, they also populate some of the road’s other social centers like the local library and the mall. It is very rare to find older people in some of these areas, and they van thus be seen to be favoring individuals of the younger generation (The Street, 2009, scene 4).
When night time strikes, the city is rife with a variety of activities. Once again, it is mainly the younger generation which populates the street. Just like City Road, the older generation is wary of the road at night. There have previously been incidences of muggings by gangs made up of young people. These gangs have mainly preyed on the older people, and this could be one of the reasons why they prefer to stay indoors during the night. The older generation in this case refers to people who are 50 years and above. Apart from this, the other reason they prefer to stay indoors is because once again the material things and occurrences at this time mainly favor the younger people. For instance, this is the time when many pubs come alive. Most of the pubs are aimed at young people who crowd them up to late hours enjoying drinks and socializing.
As mentioned earlier, the road is one of the busiest in the Eastern London region. When the hustle and bustle of the city is at its peak, mothers, children and the disabled find it incredibly hard to get around. As a result, they are unable to access some of the city’ shops and other places that they desire to get to.
Recently, the street has undergone various modifications. It is changing constantly to suit the changing needs of its societies. For instance, big shops and restaurants are being opened. These sell more and better goods that suit the society’s needs. Unfortunately, they also have consequences for the small businesses often leading to their closure. For instance, the presence of McDonald’s has driven some of the road’s fast food shops out of business. This inadvertently creates brings about inequality whereby, “Some people gain from this reshaping of societyother people losesIt creates inequalities and differences and it might reinforce existing inequalities and differences”. This is similar to the City Road scenario where the opening of Tesco’s and Spar led to the closure of Colin’s business (The Street, 2009, scene 3).
In conclusion, Leystone High Road shares a lot of similarities to City. As seen above, there are a variety of material things that favor different society groups over others. This may be taken to exhibit of society’s inequalities but a closer analysis reveals that is all part of the social balance that exists in all the major roads in the world that house different societal groups.
This module has been a revelation to me. I have learnt a variety of things on the social science genre by attending the class tutorials and participating in the class assignments. Some of things that I have found difficult include, style referencing, performing case study analysis and writing summaries.
Blakeley,G., Bromley, S., Clarke, J., Raghura,, p., Silav, E. and Taylor, S. (2012) DD131 Introducing the Social Sciences-Part 1, ‘Learning Companion 1’, Milton Keynes, the Open University.
‘The Street’ (2009) DD131 Introducing the Social Sciences-Part 1, ‘Making Social Lives’ [DVD]. Milton, Keynes, The Open University.