Take Back The Streets (...and alleys)

DBM

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Just to be clear, is the argument that there is no point in creating a park because the homeless will just fart it up? Really?
Not even remotely. For starters, the "park" in question--Carl Barron Plaza (CBP)--has been in existence for decades. Someone upthread mentioned it. So I made the point-blank obvious observation that any holistic appraisal of what ought to be done with CBP would necessarily include a frank analysis of the best intervention/mitigation strategies involving the chronic homelessness issues there. Yes, I cited the scenario of it being renovated--and then the homeless descending back on it--but only to underline the basic point: that addressing the homlessness crisis in our country, if it is to be done humanely and progressively, is fiendishly difficult.

But since you mention it, yes, there is a larger issue of private entities/developers swooping-in to renovate public spaces, as part of much-larger redevelopment projects at adjacent parcels. AKA "mitigation" (extortion of developers by municipalities). The developer and the municipality enter into an LMI (License Maintenance Indemnification). The shiny new park/plaza/square/what-have-you is delivered. Ribbon-cutting, speechifying, etc. But then... ohmigod! The developer walks away from covenants of the LMI. And said public space gets junked-up. And the municipality is left holding the bag.

Point being: making developers do "mitigation" as a way to evade the fact that municipalities can't or won't perform badly-needed renovations of public spaces--and then compounding the error by signing LMIs--is a really crappy way to pursue urban revitalization. But it happens all the time, is my understanding.
 

ra84970

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Not even remotely. For starters, the "park" in question--Carl Barron Plaza (CBP)--has been in existence for decades. Someone upthread mentioned it. So I made the point-blank obvious observation that any holistic appraisal of what ought to be done with CBP would necessarily include a frank analysis of the best intervention/mitigation strategies involving the chronic homelessness issues there. Yes, I cited the scenario of it being renovated--and then the homeless descending back on it--but only to underline the basic point: that addressing the homlessness crisis in our country, if it is to be done humanely and progressively, is fiendishly difficult.
In Massachusetts, we struggle to address the main problem of homelessness -- i.e. that they don't have a home. Our struggles are linked primarily to "the rent is too damn high" for almost everybody in the inner core. Were we (as the Commonwealth) able to enact "housing first" policies that get someone a home to call their own without conditions, we'd address the majority of the needs of the unhoused. We'd also have to address that the state keeps on defunding human service programs, clawing back staffing at these agencies, and that we don't have a policy and funding that puts housing first for the unhoused.

While it's important that any upgrades to the plaza and, to get back to the point of this thread, help us "take back" the streets and alleys, are completed in a way that allows for more people to enjoy our streets; in this context, it's also necessary to accept that unhoused people in Carl Barron Plaza need to be treated with common dignity until that day the state decides to prioritize housing, first.

But since you mention it, yes, there is a larger issue of private entities/developers swooping-in to renovate public spaces, as part of much-larger redevelopment projects at adjacent parcels. AKA "mitigation" (extortion of developers by municipalities). The developer and the municipality enter into an LMI (License Maintenance Indemnification). The shiny new park/plaza/square/what-have-you is delivered. Ribbon-cutting, speechifying, etc. But then... ohmigod! The developer walks away from covenants of the LMI. And said public space gets junked-up. And the municipality is left holding the bag.

Point being: making developers do "mitigation" as a way to evade the fact that municipalities can't or won't perform badly-needed renovations of public spaces--and then compounding the error by signing LMIs--is a really crappy way to pursue urban revitalization. But it happens all the time, is my understanding.
I think privately-owned public spaces is a bit a field from the conversation about taking back the streets and alleys. But, I recognize the same problems with these privately-owned public spaces. Carl Barron Plaza is not one of these spaces though.
 

Scott

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Oh okay, I am learning a lot that I missed living here for the last 50 years. I guess you could say we need to make Central Square great again? So how do I recognize the homeless from say a drunken college student, and should they be dealt with too? Neither wears a name tag.
 

bakgwailo

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In Massachusetts, we struggle to address the main problem of homelessness -- i.e. that they don't have a home. Our struggles are linked primarily to "the rent is too damn high" for almost everybody in the inner core.
Yeah, that isn't entirely true. There is a sizable homeless population that will/would remain homeless due to mental illness even if given housing unless we go back to the asylum system and force people into involuntary "housing". Much of the homeless population back in the day was from the asylums being shut down and patients given $20, a week's worth of meds, and a bus ticket to Boston. Not saying that housing and more housing for the homeless isn't a solution or path forward, but, I would also say it isn't the main problem of chronic homelessness, either.
 

DBM

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Yeah, that isn't entirely true. There is a sizable homeless population that will/would remain homeless due to mental illness even if given housing unless we go back to the asylum system and force people into involuntary "housing". Much of the homeless population back in the day was from the asylums being shut down and patients given $20, a week's worth of meds, and a bus ticket to Boston. Not saying that housing and more housing for the homeless isn't a solution or path forward, but, I would also say it isn't the main problem of chronic homelessness, either.
Very good point. It is hard to overstate the influence of Frederick Wiseman's "Titicut Follies" on American sociological reform, for better or for worse.

As history-altering, as a movement-catalyzing text, as "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? no.

But surely up there with, say, Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" and Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation" (both of roughly the same area of inquiry).

And with that, I will derail this thread no more (unless provoked to do so, of course)
 

Scott

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Does anyone have any hard statistics that support the opinion this argument is predicated on? Maybe from the Cambridge police? Just agreeing with each other does not make something a fact.

Anyway, my perennial favorite for taking back the streets is Columbia Road in Dorchester. It's the missing link to the Emerald Necklace. It would be nice to be able to ride from the park to the ocean in a much safer manner than the current conditions allow. We have covered it before, but it is a project in the heart of the city that is worth considering and (I believe) it's unlikely that the homeless with destroy it.
 

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