Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tent Cities: Good Idea or Not?

Urban planner says tent communities 'no solution at all' - Article from the Sunday from the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois.

Psychrolutes marcidus aka "blobfish." NOT an urban planner.

It is always interesting to me that urban planners don't like tent cities. They are urban, but unplanned. "Illegal." But one big reason that we have a need for housing in every major city in America is that government is tilted toward those with power & influence. We want to only build safe housing, so we make housing so expensive that poor people, even working poor people, cannot afford to live inside.

Then, when a social conscious developer finds a "work around" (one guy in Seattle called it a "code-hack") then the neighborhood starts to whine. We don't want tents, we don't want affordable housing (check out Magnolia's NIMBY population), we don't want want subsidized housing close by. Heck, the only poor people we want are the ones who mow our lawns, bag our groceries, serve up our coffee, or flip our burgers. Let them all commute from Tukwila, huh?

Until the urban planner has a plan that works, he is going to have to contend with unplanned survival mechanisms. Life will find a way. Or something like that.


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