I was once passing by this part of Hanrapetutyan street in the center of Yerevan and noticed something bizarre and funny, at least something I hadn’t seen anywhere else in the city: an individual traffic light by the entry arch to one of Yerevan’s yards, which all have traffic, but none has a traffic light. It is on a 24/7 yellow light blinking mode, just like other normal lights wherever there is a more pedestrian-friendly crossing.
One can ask – what’s so special about this light, right? Well, let me explain. If you’ve been in other countries with mixed eastern-western cultures, you might have seen how people take care of the city pavement in front of their shops and houses or decorate their buses or taxis inside, almost converting them into churches on wheels. So, to me here we have something with a similar intention to domesticate the public space, to make it more functional. The cross hanging from the taxi mirror does have a clear function – to protect from the bad eye and maybe from alien invasion :).
The yard, being public space, is often considered to be a part of the house/apartment, depends on where it is, who is inhabiting it etc, and people modify it according to their needs. Visit Kond district in Yerevan (I highly recommend it!), and you’ll see some inner yards with tiny fountains in the center which create a very homey feeling, with only the roof missing to make it a house. And it’s all functional.