That’s two petitions I’ve signed lately, the save the bees petition and now this one, save the Library Walk pathway from being designed into a mini-shopping mall. Consume the books but only during the day please. The plans to re-design the Library Walk involve elevating it so that the entrance to the Library will be through an ex-window, cover it in glass and have gates that are locked between 10pm and 6am. A rape that happened in Library Walk in 2011 has been partly cited when justifying blocking the walkway, also it’s been described as a public urinal.
If we begin fencing off parts of the world to avoid violence, it suggests an escapist thought-route. Natalie Bradbury draws attention to this when she says creating ‘artificially sanitised spaces’ hides the wider issues, and also makes the point that this action perpetuates the ideas of where and when it is allowable for a woman to walk. It might seem harmless to be guarding people from a potential site of danger, but actually it is a behaviour that threatens our integrity. In providing us with permission for where and when we are able to walk we are threatened with a Hand Maiden society that dictates our behaviour to us.
This is reflected in the principles of Parkour, even though I don’t think people should seek out high risk behaviour for the wrong reasons, and spiderman walk all over buildings without the training or skill to pull it off, I agree with and feel the philosophy of Parkour is relevant to society’s architecture, and how that impacts our behaviour and thinking:
‘Andy (Animus of Parkour North America) clarifies Parkour as “a means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it, instead of being sheltered by it.’
I discovered Library Walk wandering aimlessly around Manchester one day when I was visiting, and it instantly became one of my favorite parts of Manchester that I would re-visit. It’s walls open the sky out to you, it’s bad enough that the library itself and the pathway is going to be inaccessible for the next two years (if not longer), now they are taking away part of what originally defined Manchester to me. I’m upset! Sign the petition to keep it how it was.