Monday, June 9, 2008

Aesthetics in the Bay Area

By Maria, Laura, Vanessa and Beatriz

While doing all these interviews around the Bay Area, we learned a lot from all kinds of people’s perspectives. Some people thought their community was clean, others didn’t.

Focusing on aesthetics, one of the main points was graffiti. Some people didn’t like the fact that the teens would 'destroy' the city this way, others would think that graffiti was 'art'. When we were interviewing people in Fruitvale village, we interviewed Pete Villasenor, a librarian. He said that in his opinion graffiti was an art and that he would like more people to pay teens to paint murals around the town. In other places around, Fruitvale people said that this kids who do this kind of vandalism are kids who are not educated by their parents, and that it was all about how the parents raised their children to respect property.

In Chinatown, and Lake Merritt, we also saw graffiti, compared to other places like Walnut Creek, Alameda, Castro Street, and Old Oakland, where the graffiti in walls was very rare. We think this is because this are wealthier cities were people paymore taxes and the money is use to maintain a clean city, they also use the money and spend the time to paint over the graffiti. Meanwhile in Oakland people are using the money to make the city safer and add more cops.

The Chinatown buildings in Downtown Oakland looked old. They looked like they were almost ready to fall down, not all of them but most of them. They didn't look that clean compared to the other buildings we saw. The Fruitvale buildings, is not that they look old is just that they look kind of dirty, not all of them, though some buildings in the Fruitvale area are new and they're pretty clean. In the Rockridge area the buildings didn't look old or new: they were in good shape and they didn't look dirty or like they had any tagging on them.

In Old Oakland the buildings were really old. The buildings in Old Oakland are one of the oldest buildings in the Bay Area. They don't look dirty is just the fact that there old that makes them look kind of mess up. Lake Merritt buildings seem like they’re in pretty good shape. Some of them were old and some of them were new. They were building more new buildings too. The buildings in Lakeshore were old but taken care of. They keep the buildings in good shape and make them look new.

In the Castro, some buildings were pretty old, but then again some looked new. They kept their buildings in good shape as well and they are very colorful and different. The buildings in the Castro have a lot color and even though some buildings looked old like the theater they had something about it that made it look new.

Overall, most of the buildings were in good shape. Fruitvale is a place that the Latino community identifies with. There are a lot of Mexican restaurants, and there are mostly Latinos around. The language you mostly hear is Spanish. In Fruitvale we are used to each other, and we are not scared when we see eachother's face. We have simple clothes. We don't have a lot of money to have nicer expensive clothes. In Chinatown, it was an Asian community where the elderly didn't speak much English. In Rockridge there was diversity, but not a lot compared to other parts of Oakland. The people there were dressed professionally, and were nice. In Old Oakland there was a lot of different people because it was the Farmers' Market day, and people from different cities came.

The Castro was a different community. In Fruitvale you rarely see a homosexual men walking around. In Castro that's pretty much all you saw. The people there looked like they had money based on how they were dressed. In Walnut Creek people were walking around in their suits and professional clothes. Most of the people we saw in Walnut Creek were Caucasian. They were not used to seeing minorities. It was clear they believed in the stereotypes that people said about minorities. The clear example that showed they were absorbed into stereotypes was that, when our male group-member approached a white lady, she grabbed her purse and looked really scared. We believe this because they haven't had the chance to interact with minorities, and they go based on what they hear in the media.

While visiting Fruitvale we noticed that the streets were really dirty. In the Fruitvale drains there was a bag of chips, soda cans and more other trash. There was people picking up cans and bottles (to get money for recycling them), but they weren't picking up thash. We think that Fruitvale was dirty is because theres' a lot of people that are lazy to look for a trash can and just throw it in the ground. In Rockridge it was very different from Fruitvale: the streets were much cleaner and there was no garbage in the drains. We think that it was clean because people care for their environment and don't want a dirty environment. Another reason is because there are a lot of rich people and they have pay higher taxes.

In Alameda, the part that we went to was clean. We think that there are parts in the community that are dirty. It was clean because people are clean and want people to see their community as a clean one. The Castro was different because it's right next door to the Mission, where the streets are super dirty, but in the Castro, they were much cleaner than the Mission. We think that in Castro it was sort of clean because some people cared about their community (though not all of them). In Lakeshore, their community was clean because there was a lot of trash cans around. In Walnut Creek the streets were much cleaner than in Old Oakland probably because some people don't care and some do. We think that if people make a change of not littering the streets can be much cleaner. In Chinatown, the streets had gum on the ground and we walked past a garbage can that was in the ground and there was thrash next to it, probably because it couldn't fit anymore garbage.

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