Urban Code

Anne Mikoleit, Moritz Puerckhauer. Urban Code: 100 Lessons for Understanding the City. ISBN 978-3-85676-290-2

P. 73

61. Shop owners put their trash bags out on the street

There are primarily ilogical reasons for the fact that trash lies on the streets. If one had the choice, the courtyard would certainly be the better option for waste disposal. Trash stinks, takes up space, and is unhygienic, but putting it on the street does have a few tiny advantages. Trash is an importan prop in the active theater of the street. The shop proprietor or employee carries it, usually in a number of sacks out to the furthest edge of the sidewalk. Over the course of the day, homeless people go through the bags, looking for deposit bottles of other objects that might be useful. In the evening or the next day, the sacks are then devoured, one after the other, by garbage trucks. The streetscape is activated and involved in the processes of the everyday. For the inhabitants of SoHo, its investors, and some tourists, the trash on the streets may be an eyesore, but for many other touriusts, it is an expression of vibrancy and of transparent functionalities, and is a part of the New York backdrop. Together with the many small entrances, different facades, shops and street vendors, it divides the street into individual segments.

This book raises many insights from observing urban life in New York, particularly in Manhattan if I'm not mistaken (it's been weeks since I read it). I have collected one of them specifically, as it relates in broad terms to what is becoming my research theme. (comment added on 04/10/2019).

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