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?

To stop “unwanted activity” in the passageway at 836 Yates Street, the police suggested cutting down some bushes to allow for “natural surveillance” by the public, to “assist in deterring and preventing crime in this area.”

The Environmental Assessment Office was eager to comply, moving from this:

836 Yates before changes. Image source: Google Maps

836 Yates before changes. Image source: Google Maps

To this:

Bushes cut down at 836 Yates.

Bushes cut down at 836 Yates.

I thought that was going to be the end of it, but it turns out they actually chose the police’s ‘Option Two’: “removing the foliage and filling the planters with concrete and rocks.” It’s not a great look:

Defensive architecture work-in-progress at Environmental Assessment Office.

Defensive architecture work-in-progress at Environmental Assessment Office.

When I walked by during this concrete-and-rock stage, people were, horror of horrors, still sitting on the ledge! Waiting for the bus, hanging out, whatever. I guess somebody told the Environmental Assessment Office that ugly metal fences are hot this year, because that’s what they did next: 

To summarize, the provincial government met with the police, cut down bushes, dumped some big rocks in a planter, cemented those rocks in place, and added a fence. All to reduce the chances that their employees might have to see people who are living in poverty – a direct consequence of their government’s own policies.

Stephen Harrison