Government-sanctioned defensive architecture

This post provides an update on the creeping progress of government-sanctioned defensive architecture. In April I wrote about how provincial government agencies are working with the police to come up with ways to displace people. One of those agencies is B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office: defenders of deer, protectors of porcupines, and… shredder of shrubs?

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Let’s all go to the library

James Bay is getting a public library in 2018, fulfilling a long-standing promise from the City of Victoria. Public libraries are well-used by homeless Victorians, and I expect the James Bay branch will be no exception. What’s interesting is that the library will be right next to a new, privately owned “public plaza.” Public libraries may be for everyone, but unfortunately our “public plazas” are not.

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Homeless people didn’t spray paint church wall

When the Central Baptist Church built a wall to keep people out of a sheltered space alongside the church, the wall was quickly spray painted with the words “Hate Gate? WWJD?” Some Victorians were aghast. Who would do such a thing? Who would build a wall to displace — wait. They were mad about the spray paint?

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Skaters, back off!

Walking around town it’s obvious that a great deal of energy has been expended on policing skateboarders. They’re banned from certain areas, and everywhere you look metal obstacles have been installed to prevent grinding on ledges, railings, and benches.

Read More
Stephen Harrison
VicPD and the BC government: Purveyors of fine Victorian fences

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a city and VicPD-endorsed policy that recommends using fences, rocks, lighting, and surveillance to make spaces unusable or inaccessible to poor and homeless Victorians. VicPD reports show that CPTED is not about “crime,” but about pushing people further to the margins. And the provincial government is an active participant.

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Eating 100 pounds of Tent City soil won’t get you high

When the province announced it was building a playground on the Tent City property, it said the soil needed to be removed to deal with “contaminants” including methamphetamines. The media duly reported that information, and why not? We can’t have children running around on meth-y soil in the Garden City. They might get a contact high!

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Displacegrounds, Part 2

When City Council updated its parks bylaws, it banned camping in playgrounds. Since that time, some members of the public have been demanding playgrounds in order to displace homeless campers from Tent City and other locations.

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Displacegrounds, Part 1

At the risk of being unpopular, let me suggest the following: the two proposed play areas for downtown Victoria – at the former Tent City site, and Reeson Park, a.k.a. the Whale Wall – are first and foremost about displacing poor and homeless Victorians. Creating space for children and families is a distant and secondary goal.

Read More
Stephen Harrison
When is a planter not a planter?

Last week the CBC published an article about a Vancouver property management company installing concrete balls to block people from accessing alcoves. Vancouver’s hate balls haven’t rolled across the Salish Sea quite yet, but Victoria is already doing much the same thing.

Read More
Stephen Harrison
Please look away from the spikes

The art at Yates and Douglas is an exercise in pretending Victoria’s downtown is a fun, welcoming place for everyone to enjoy. It might even draw your eyes away from the multiple attempts to police and exclude people from the same space.

Read More
Stephen Harrison