Comment 26833

By JH (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2008 at 16:46:42

Geoff, I appreciate the optimism in your comments-that the development of increased commerce would hopefully not create a situation whereby non-consumers are kicked out...
What I mean to point out is that "inherent" in this plan, is no protection for the space as a public good. And the greatest test of our commitment to the public good is what happens to those who have the least. As a municipal project, the city's responsibility is primarily a civic one, not a commercial one. At least that's something I happen to believe as a citizen. So there needs to be more robust debate around what we mean by terms like loitering, but also about the kinds of policy that will include the promotion of a civic space for everyone-for not only those who are visibly poor, disabled, working class, etc., but for things like civic action-protests, rallies, and the like. I'm sure you can see what I mean here.
Social mixing is not a bad thing in itself, however if the thinking goes that "we" want greater social mixing, that there needs to be inherently a recognition that you can't just remove people from a space through the heavy hand of industry-interested state (or city) power. 89,000 people in Hamilton are techincally "poor" = below the poverty line.
People who are poor are regularly harassed and exlcluded from all other types of spaces that are considered consumer spaces- it is a pity that we have a big, fat, giant mall as our city centre. In fact, the homeless in Toronto, for example, are regularly denied access to fast food outlet restrooms even when they do have a dollar or two to spend. What I am arguing for here is not that cities should be rife with illicit activity, as you describe in your post, but that we take a structural view at what we mean by "public space" and defend a more complete view of what is meant by the concept of development.
As to the comments posted by Shmadrian-your use of terms like "undesirables" (undesirable to whom?) and the allusion of such people to be "flies" (to shit) are just plain ignorant-if not definable as hate speech.

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