The real executive agent for architectural form is fear. Fear is a legitimate emotion, to which architecture offers an immediate, compelling and permanent solution.
The problem is that the proportional relationship between the fear of violence and actual violence is incremental. For every reported murder there is a disproportionate further entrenchment, further polarisation, further introversion of communities and a further growth of an increasingly insidious mythology. I would like to emphasize that the blame for this does not lie with the media, their role is legitimate. Fear cannot be adequately rationalised. There is a natural assumption that fear is the consequence of a persistent reality: it is thought prudent to build hermetically sealed vessels against this thing called violence. Fear affects the city. Being a legitimate state of being, fear is, naturally, not subject to the same social and institutional pressures as the violence itself. Architecture not only reflects but, by reason of its permanence, helps to enforce daily habits through the channels and obstacles -physical or psychological- which architecture imposes upon movement and exchange. Those habits are the shrines of social icons. The vituperative spiral identified above has become binding through such intangible intersubjective factors as the mosaic self-image which the Jamaican has come to see as a homogenous identity. The architecture of Kingston is an important ingredient in that self-image, both as a symbol and as a habit. The question for architects and the superstructure which they serve, becomes: How can we respond adequately to fear without taking on the rituals and forms of hedgehogs, turtles and rabbits?