The Paths That Lead Nowhere.


The past few weeks have found myself at exactly 11 dead ends in and around Norton Hammer and Abbeydale Road. As discussed in a previous post, I found the encounter as an individual of one way paths more like a theatre production in the sense that the placement of dead ends by city planners, urban designers and highway engineers, creates situations where individuals lives are disrupted and they must modify their routes to find another way.

The reason for my visits where to find out how one could overcome such interventions and still head in the direction they wished to follow. I had initially planned to finally grade each dead end on their difficulty and to provide a list of tools appropriate in overcoming the obstacle.  This idea proved to become less and less interesting as the majority of dead ends simply required a ladder of various heights to climb over the wall and the only true issue would be one of trespassing rather than physical difficulty.


Ironically, I found each dead end very much lifeless as most simply had nothing of significance or interest and their main features were solid abrupt walls ranging from 2 to 4 metres. I found this incredibly frustrating and while they serve a specific purpose, their sterile and sudden spaces prevent any life often found in two way paths.

After almost a week after returning from my visit I felt I had reached a dead end on this topic. I then began to ask the question, How do you make a Dead End, Alive?

The answer is simple. People are alive, Walls are not.

Before I conclude this post and develop a proposition, I would like to include an image that was discussed at a guest lecture that sparked the above inquisitional question and consequently its answer.



Woman brings mirror to protest to show the police human wall that they are people too. (AP Photo/ Sergei Chuzakov)


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