Street Performers around the Market

by Chany Park

Location: bounded by First Avenue to the east, Western Avenue to the west, Virginia Street to the north, and, to the south, a line drawn from First to Western Avenues halfway between Pike Street and Union Street.

On a weekend, street performers produce an ensemble around the Pike Place market. Street performers choose space to occupy carefully, so as not to encroach on other performers’ spaces. Sound they make defines the outer limits of the performance space, the area within earshot. Musicians play lively, brisk, and laid-back music which harmonizes greatly with other sounds and the atmosphere in the market. The amused spectators clap and give cheers. How many people gather is not just matter of the quality of performance, but space also. If a performer occupies a space which makes pedestrians feel uncomfortable and insecure to stand, nobody gathers.

Their performance plays crucial roles in many ways in the context of micro-urbanism and soundscape idea. It contributes to give viewers enjoyment and a pleasant experience and memory in Pike Place Market. Performance becomes an instrument of urban memory. Moreover, their improvisation performance gives energy and vitality to space and a sense of belonging to people by evoking interaction between artists and viewers, which is not usual in just urban street. Finally, their performances become absolutely part of the landscape of Pike Place Market by forming most of the soundscape of the market.

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Micro Urbanism

The term “micro-urbanism” describes small-scale urban spaces and design interventions that enable a wide variety of activities, events, processes and functions to take place. It also involves ways to reinterpret the urban landscape. As a class project, the purpose for creating this Guide is to bring attention to aspects of our everyday environment that are important but often neglected parts of the urban experiences.

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