| Daughters of Sysiphus |
The yard is a particularly important form of land use in Kingston and is based not only on a tenure relationship of tenancy but also on a structured sharing of space and lives of the people who live in yards. Brodber (1975) discusses this phenomenon at some length in her work on tenement yards and their role in healing psychiatric patients.
The tenement yard is a situation of high density with the sharing of common physical infrastructure playing a central role. This in turn dictates a sharing of social interchange and minimizes a household's access to privacy. In the early stages of family formation this kind of yard, which occurs not just in Central Kingston but all over the Corporate Area, provides an important security net for female-headed households. Child care is relatively easy because of the proximity of several households within a single yard and the yard provides the basis for a form of open counselling service which occurs more or less by default because it is almost impossible to keep one's business to oneself. At the same time for those households that experience a crisis the yard can operate as an informal welfare system with sharing of food and counsel. This is particularly important for the elderly who would often, otherwise. have nowhere to turn.