ISSN : 2266-6060

Permitted

permis

London, september 2013.

One of the essential qualities of public spaces is their diversity. Cities are ecologies within which a great variety of species live together, more or less peacefully. There are numerous devices that are used by authorities to organize these ecologies, among them markings and signboards have been our favorite ones for years now. They are the very elements that shape scriptopolis: spaces within which togetherness is partly organized with writings. But until today, we mostly documented binary phenomenas, where signs displayed, or enacted, simple unambiguous rules, especially when co-exitence were at stake. This entity is allowed here ; that one is forbidden. We also documented changes, especially about bicycles, to which more and more space has been given recently, despite some small failures.
It seems this signpost, found in London, bears witness to a new step in these changes. A step where bicycles are considered as maybe a bit too numerous, and cyclists a bit too enthusiastic. As if all the soft and green mobility idea had gone too far, now threatening another fragile entity: pedestrians. Interestingly, the signpost is not binary. It does not exclude bikes from the site (this certainly would have been too politically incorrect), but establishes a priority. It tries to put cyclists in a very specific position, where their practice is not forbidden but could be if it became inappropriate. Indicating that something has to be ‘considered permitted’ in a public setting: a whole new domain opening for mandatory signs, a whole new location to explore for Scriptopolis.



3 Comments

  1. Name * wrote:

    Bonjour,

    Merci de ce billet.

    Je trouvais que “toléré” était une meilleure traduction…

    EeT.

  2. Name * wrote:

    Ps. Mêmes indications à Genève, je vais tâcher de vous envoyer des images… (avec des mots écrits)