V. Raju – Week 1 – Block Map

I chose to do my observations back in my hometown, because it is a much more segregated town that many other places in Michigan. I observed a main road called Hemmeter Road that had three side road intersections on it that were known as Jameson Street, Westwood Drive, and Wall Street. I spent my day sitting in the front yard of a home on Westwood Drive, because one of my childhood friends still lives there.

 

I began by observing the houses and neighborhoods around the main road. This was considered to be the township area of Saginaw, so it was filled with mostly middle class white Americans. The grasses in each lawn were well kept, and the houses were small and colorless. Most of the homes seemed to be built in the 50’s or 60’s and they had a very drab and greyish color to them. The cars parked outside the homes were mostly trucks and minivans. I was observing Hemmeter road from the front yard of my friend’s house and I noticed that there was a high volume of traffic around 3pm, because the elementary school sponsored summer camps and the parents were picking up their children at this time. The influx of cars had me distracted and made it difficult to pay attention to the actual school itself. This elementary school was very old, but it still had uniqueness to it that modern day architecture isn’t able to recreate. A majority of the parents picking up their kids were middle-aged white women, and it was rare to see any of them in luxurious cars.

 

There were other children riding their bikes home, but they seemed a bit older so I assume that they were all riding home from a different school and had to take Hemmeter road in order to get home. It’s clear from my observations that this school took the white students that came from middle socioeconomic backgrounds, because there weren’t many people of color to be seen. I noticed some older people that were black and Latino playing with a football on the baseball field, but it seemed like they were from around the aware. This road is very unique in the sense that most of the people living around the school were from minority communities, but the actual students that went to the school were children from middle class white families. I believe that the school had built a reputation for taking in certain students and it continues to work this way even to this day, even if the majority of the neighborhoods around the school are filled with people of color.

 

Hemmeter road was kept in good condition and it looked like it was still undergoing construction. The cones on the road had narrowed the cars into one lane on each side, which must have contributed to the traffic as well. The neighborhood streets such as Wall Street, Westwood Drive, and Jameson Street were not undergoing and construction and they were in terrible condition. I walked around on these roads and noticed there were many potholes and the paint lines were completely gone. I assume the main road was kept in good condition because the school had to make sure it was in the best shape possible, but the other roads across Hemmeter road seemed to be ignored and underdeveloped. These roads also reflect that the neighborhoods are underdeveloped, especially since many of the homes were designed like small boxes with little to no yard space.

Block Map

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