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Colton Rogers
Colton Rogers

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From the mid-1840s, Brown had built a reputation as an expert in fine sheep and wool. For about one year, he ran Captain Oviatt's farm,[63] and he then entered into a partnership with Col. Simon Perkins of Akron, Ohio, whose flocks and farms were managed by Brown and his sons.[66] Brown eventually moved into a home with his family across the street from the Perkins Stone Mansion on Perkins Hill.[67]

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On September 7, Brown entered Lawrence to meet with Free State leaders and help fortify against a feared assault. At least 2,700 pro-slavery Missourians were once again invading Kansas. On September 14, they skirmished near Lawrence. Brown prepared for battle, but serious violence was averted when the new governor of Kansas, John W. Geary, ordered the warring parties to disarm and disband, and offered clemency to former fighters on both sides.[95]

The fact that the layout of the city, having developed without anyoverall design, lacks a consistent geometric logic does not mean thatit was at all confusing to its inhabitants. One imagines that many ofits cobbled streets were nothing more than surfaced footpaths tracedby repeated use. For those who grew up in its various quarters, Brugeswould have been perfectly familiar, perfectly legible. Its very alleysand lanes would have closely approximated the most common dailymovements. For a stranger or trader arriving for the first time,however, the town was almost certainly confusing, simply because itlacked a repetitive, abstract logic that would allow a newcomer toorient herself. The cityscape of Bruges in 1500 could be said toprivilege local knowledge over outside knowledge, including that ofexternal political authorities.[106] It functioned spatially in muchthe same way a difficult or unintelligible dialect would functionlinguistically. As a semipermeable membrane, it facilitatedcommunication within the city while remaining stubbornly unfamiliar tothose who had not grown up speaking this special geographic dialect.

A second point about an urban order easily legible from outside isthat the grand plan of the ensemble has no necessary relationship tothe order of life as it is experienced by its residents. Althoughcertain state services may be more easily provided and distantaddresses more easily located, these apparent advantages may benegated by such perceived disadvantages as the absence of a densestreet life, the intrusion of hostile authorities, the loss of thespatial irregularities that foster coziness, gathering places forinformal recreation, and neighborhood feeling. The formal order of ageometrically regular urban space is just that: formal order. Itsvisual regimentation has a ceremonial or ideological quality, muchlike the order of a parade or a barracks. The fact that such orderworks for municipal and state authorities in administering the city isno guarantee that it works for citizens. Provisionally, then, we mustremain agnostic about the relation between formal spatial order andsocial experience.

As happens in many authoritarian modernizing schemes, the politicaltastes of the ruler occasionally trumped purely military andfunctional concerns. Rectilinear streets may have admirably assistedthe mobilization of troops against insurgents, but they were also tobe flanked by elegant facades and to terminate in imposing buildingsthat would impress visitors.[133] Uniform modern buildings along thenew boulevards may have represented healthier dwellings, but they wereoften no more than facades. The zoning regulations were almostexclusively concerned with the visible surfaces of buildings, butbehind the facades, builders could build crowded, airless tenements,and many of them did.[134]

Then, as this morning on the dock, again I saw, as if for the firsttime in my life, the impeccably straight streets, the glistening glassof the pavement, the divine parallelepipeds of the transparentdwellings, the square harmony of the grayish blue rows of Numbers. Andit seemed to me that not past generations, but I myself, had won avictory over the old god and the old life.

A mere glance at the scenes of Brasília, juxtaposed to the urbanBrazil that we have been describing, shows at once how radical is thetransformation. There are no streets in the sense of public gatheringplaces; there are only roads and highways to be used exclusively bymotorized traffic (compare figures 19 and 20).

What are the conditions of this diversity? That a district have mixedprimary uses, Jacobs suggests, is the most vital factor. Streets andblocks should be short in order to avoid creating long barriers topedestrians and commerce.[337] Buildings should ideally be of greatlyvarying age and condition, thereby making possible different rentalterms and the varied uses that accompany them. Each of theseconditions, not surprisingly, violates one or more of the workingassumptions of orthodox urban planners of the day: single-usedistricts, long streets, and architectural uniformity. Mixed primaryuses, Jacobs explains, are synergistic with diversity and density.

After seizing state power, the victors have a powerful interest inmoving the revolution out of the streets and into the museums andschoolbooks as quickly as possible, lest the people decide to repeatthe experience.[390] A schematic account highlighting the decisivenessof a handful of leaders reinforces their legitimacy; its emphasis oncohesion, uniformity, and central purpose makes it seem inevitable andtherefore, it is to be hoped, permanent. The slighting of autonomouspopular action serves the additional purpose of implying that theworking class is incapable of acting on its own without outsideleadership.[391] The account is likely to take the opportunity toidentify enemies outside and inside the revolution, singling outappropriate targets of hatred and suppression.

Those specialists who deal with emergencies and disasters are alsoexemplary of mētis. Firefighters, rescue squads, paramedics,mine-disaster teams, doctors in hospital emergency rooms, crews thatrepair downed electrical lines, teams that extinguish fires in oilfields, and, as we shall see, farmers and pastoralists in precariousenvironments must respond quickly and decisively to limit damage andsave lives. Although there are rules of thumb that can be and aretaught, each fire or accident is unique, and half the battle isknowing which rules of thumb to apply in which order and when to throwthe book away and improvise.


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