Monday, August 30, 2004

Leave me in my cell!

Summer 1999, I'm vacationing in Geneva enjoying the street life. I see two men dining at a sidewalk cafe, each talking on his cell phone, presumably not to each other. It's like a New Yorker cartoon, I thought. Now, I think nothing of it.

But it is something to think about--the way cell phones bring about the privatization of pedestrian space, of the very sidewalks.

"Anything that separates people from their surroundings is antithetical to the idea of a public realm," said Jerold S. Kayden, professor of urban planning and design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. "Every little brick added to the walls around people creates less of a common cause, and I don't think we need to be adding bricks."

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