Eyes upon the street – Safety of the ‘urban poor –woman’?

“A city street equipped to handle strangers, and to make a safety asset, in itself, our of the presence of strangers, as the streets of successful city neighborhoods always do, must have three main qualities:

First, there must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects.

Second, there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street. The buildings on a street equipped to handle strangers and to insure the safety of both residents and strangers, must be oriented to the street. They cannot turn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind.

And third, the sidewalk must have users on it fairly continuously, both to add to the number of effective eyes on the street and to induce the people in buildings along the street to watch the sidewalks in sufficient numbers. Nobody enjoys sitting on a stoop or looking out a window at an empty street. Almost nobody does such a thing. Large numbers of people entertain themselves, off and on, by watching street activity.”
― Jane JacobsThe Death and Life of Great American Cities

That was Jacob, suggesting long back on how to make our cities liveable . In an interesting ‘art’ project – French outdoor installation artist JR executed – ‘Women are Heroes’ project all over the world and got watchful eyes right back on the streets!

Here are some images:

28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes

Favela de Jour, Rio de Janeiro, Brésil, 2008

Image

Image

 28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes

Action in Kibera Slum, Rooftops View, Kenya, 2009

Image

Image

28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes

Eyes on Bricks, New Delhi, India, 2009

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28 Millimeters, Women Are Heroes

Eye in Jaipur, Holi Festival, India, 2009

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But then, does it even matter – Even if all are watching?!

Indian cities with many strangers and far too many eyes still don’t grant safety for women.

Artist page: http://www.jr-art.net

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