With High Street’s history we looked into the idea of identity, comparing the area’s constant urban renewal with the way cells in the body are replaced every 7 to 10 years. This idea somewhat reminded us of the paradox of the Ship of Theseus;
The story follows a ship stored in a museum and was once owned by Theseus, a mighty king after which it was named. Over time the planks of the ship would rot and decay, being substituted for new planks until almost the whole ship had been entirely replaced. After this discovery an argument was brought up that asked if the ship was still the same ship Theseus had once sailed in or if the new parts that now made up the ship had robbed it of its identity.
We found this quite similar to the situation in High Street, with many buildings now having been demolished, replaced or lie derelict. Has the street lost the identity it once had? Has it developed a new identity?
Human cells regenerate over time, however brain cells do not. We found that this fact related quite well to how High Street’s memory remains despite many physical changes occurring. Yet while the street’s past remains, it seems that the large number of new developments on High Street have turned this history into an “irrelevant” feature of the area, dooming it to be forgotten.
While the idea of constant urban renewal and the effect it has on High Street’s identity was very interesting to research and discuss, in the end we didn’t find an effective way of working it into a project that could support High Street and the people that live within its locale.
Comparison of satellite pictures of the site in 2002 and 2017 highlighting the changes made in 15 years