Forts on Fort

Nobody loves defensive architecture quite like Fort Street. Outside of business hours, locked gates block alcove after alcove. One gate appears to be guarding a statue of a cow, while others protect some of our most precious institutions, including patio furniture, compost, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Most of the gates are shutting off nothing more than empty space. Still in shock that Kindness Meters™ didn’t solve visible homelessness, Fort Street businesses keep the gates locked up tight, blocking sheltered and semi-private spaces from people who might otherwise use them overnight.

These type of gates all fit within the city’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) scheme. The gate outside Cafe Brio was even praised in a report prepared for the city for its “custom detailing” and plants that “softe[n] the appearance.”

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What a soft and fuzzy gate, motivated by love and joy and don’t you just want to hug it!

It’s not just alcoves and store fronts that get the gate treatment. Got an alley? Put a gate on it!

What about a “semi-public courtyard”? Gate it to the sky!

Place making, hell yeah!

Place making, hell yeah!

Fort Street business owners might defend these gates as a way to protect their antique stamps and such, while others might place the blame on their landlords. But I suspect some would be quite open about a desire to keep people out of these spaces.

The end result of any of these reasons is the same. Contributing to the city’s culture of displacement is a choice, with harmful effects.

Stephen Harrison