Hostile Architecture, SF Edition

Homeless scoff at SF strategy of dumping boulders at camp site

The homeless people the boulders were intended to dissuade simply moved their tents a few feet away. Most of the rocks stand a few feet high, and at about 400 pounds are too heavy to move easily. But there is plenty of space left between them for sleeping bags -- and plenty of Hairball ground beyond that for pitching tents.

"Not sure why they thought this would stop us, but it didn't," James Ayres, 36, said Thursday as he stood outside his tent at the Hairball, on a dirt field about 50 feet from a cluster of boulders. "Maybe they'll put more out here. I don't know. They've got lots of money to do it. But for now, you could camp right between them if you want. I mean, really, it's kind of funny." [...]

This dynamic has played out for decades, from resentment when benches at Civic Center Plaza were removed in the 1990s to keep people from sleeping on them, to sprinklers being installed at St. Mary's Cathedral doorways in 2015 where homeless people slept. The sprinklers were taken out after a public outcry, but the benches have never come back -- and many benches around the city, particularly at bus stops, are now designed to make them tough to stretch out on.

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2 Responses:

  1. B says:

    That's bush league, San Diego is way ahead of the game:

    Rocks to oust homeless were about baseball, not neighbor

    Of course, San Diego also has the largest hepatitis A outbreak among homeless the US has ever seen, and has had to build "hepatitis tents" and literally hose down entire homeless camps.

    • MattyJ says:

      Back when I lived in San Diego a couple decades ago, the lack of 'safety' around Imperial avenue revolved around getting your head beat in by a gang. How times have changed.

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