City Road is a busy street in Cardiff. It has a variety of businesses and residents, creating dynamics which change according to the time of day. Many of the businesses are shops, such as Xquisite Africa which caters to the ethnic residents who have felt in the past that their needs were not met. There are also restaurants and takeaways that thrive at night, the majority of customers being local students and young people living in the area. The Making Social Lives DVD shows local resident Lloyd Robson talking to people who have access to City Road and it highlights differences in people’s experiences and perceptions.
Whilst a street is a relatively small area there are some people who benefit more than others from aspects of the street; it’s infrastructure, such as street furniture and facilities, such as restaurants and clubs. There are some people who are actively disadvantaged by these same features and these can become inequalities. I would like to describe how certain people in society experience inequalities in City Road and give examples.Whilst some facilities are available to all it is not possible that all people can use them, for example, the Mackintosh Centre is a reasonably priced sports club which is not used to full advantage by local people. It has the look of a private club and was once a house to a wealthy family. People on low incomes feel daunted to enter according to John Cooksley, the head coach (the street, 2009, scene 7). Although this view is only a perception it is a very real problem for the individual, and is a reflection of the inequalities suffered due to poor education, often associated with class, for example low self esteem, and lack of confidence. In contrast, at The Municipal Club people who are new to the area, who might be more likely to use Mackintosh Centre, might feel unwelcome as it’s members are well established with links to the past City Road.
. At weekends the Mackintosh Centre is used as a Farmers Market, which is popular with some local residents. However those who are financially deprived due to low income, disability or age will not benefit from this facility as it is more expensive to shop there than a local supermarket. Dr Simon Bromley (the street, 2009, scene 7) explains how there is a question in society of who’s inside and who’s outside. I believe the example given between the two clubs highlights this question.Changes to the way people shop have affected City Road.
Whilst many of the ethnic shops such as the shop selling saris are successful there are smaller businesses that are suffering in the modern climate. An example of this is Colin Buttwell with his small newsagent, he is affected by Tesco having opened in the area. Tesco is able to offer cheaper products due to fact it is a larger company that can negotiate the best prices, it can also offer better parking and access for people with disabilities. Whilst residents may prefer to support the local newsagent they may find themselves unable to resist the prices of Tesco. A different newsagent was forced to close when a Spar opened nearby, as a result of the power of what Lloyd Robson calls ‘the big boys’ and the inequality in terms of being able to compete.It is interesting to see how City Road changes according to the times of the day and how this creates inequalities according to age groups.
During the day elderly people enjoy using the cafes such as Tastebuds. They appreciate the value for money offered and the feeling of safety provided. As the elderly are usually pedestrians or users of public transport they will have negotiated hardships such as busy traffic, street furniture, steps and cobbles to get to the cafe, these are features which would not be daunting to a younger, more able bodied person. During the evening and night the street turns over to young people and the elderly feel excluded due to perceived safety concerns.It would appear from reading Learning Companion 1 and watching Making Social Lives, 2009, that sometimes once an inequality has been addressed it creates another inequality for a different group in society.
An example of this is where the Council plan to install a bus lane to help the problems with heavy traffic, this plan would affect parking and be detrimental to business such as Mr Suarez’s cafe. Dr Georgina Blakeley states ‘So the reshaping of society, which is this constant reshaping, creates some winners and losers’.