IDM Ad-Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities

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You should read Fortress Los Angeles, a chapter from Mike Davis’ “City of Quartz.”

> One of the simplest but most mean-spirited of these deterrents is the Rapid Transit District’s new barrel-shaped bus bench, which offers a minimal surface for uncomfortable sitting while making sleeping impossible. Such “bumproof” benches are being widely introduced on the periphery of Skid Row. Another invention is the aggressive deployment of outdoor sprinklers. Several years ago the city opened a Skid Row Park; to ensure that the park could not be used for overnight camping, overhead sprinklers were programmed to drench unsuspecting sleepers at random times during the night. The system was immediately copied by local merchants to drive the homeless away from (public) storefront sidewalks. Meanwhile Downtown restaurants and markets have built baroque enclosures to protect their refuse from the homeless. Although no one in Los Angeles has yet proposed adding cyanide to the garbage, as was suggested in Phoenix a few years back, one popular seafood restaurant has spent $12,000 to build the ultimate bag-lady-proof trash cage: three-quarter-inch steel rod with alloy locks and vicious out-turned spikes to safeguard moldering fishheads and stale french fries.

It was written in ~1990 and sort of predicted the LA riots in ’92.

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