April 5, 2011

After exiting Totteridge & Whetstone station, I immediately noted that the station is at the very edge of activity on Station Road (a spur off of Whetstone’s High Street). Beyond it is trees and greenery that lead to Totteridge. This natural environment seems to be a clear separator between these two areas. I’m curious if the people in one area feel superior to people in the other area and if this divide facilities it or if these two communities feel that they are both a part of the whole. Do separators like this encourage this behaviour or is this just a manifestation of people’s inherent competitiveness?

Walking up Station Road to the High Street, there were some interesting things to take note of. First, all the shops were on the same side of the road as the station; second, all establishments on the other side of the road were residential; and third, a giant, looming building is off in the horizon. These mashed together elements didn’t feel cohesive to me, almost like they were all serving their own specific purposes – separate.

This “architectural confusion” continued onto the High Street itself, as you had an old Tudor (or Tudor style) building across the road from another business building. This happened throughout, making a start and then stop, creating these mini-commercial islands.

Speaking of disconnection, out of all the suburbs I’ve been to so far, this High Street is the most pedestrian unfriendly one yet. It’s a wide road with fast traffic and few stoplights. At the very top of the road was a zebra crossing that I cautiously used and, though we had the right of way, I wasn’t entirely surprised when the first two cars didn’t stop, even though they saw I was trying to cross.

The High Street abruptly ended after the crossing. On the whole, this area had clear delineating: the station, the zebra crossing, land use, sides of the road. I’m left wondering if the local population notices this, or if they aren’t that bothered as they get into their car and drive somewhere else.


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