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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lunchtime Around a Construction Site

Construction in an area often illustrates opportunities and shortcomings of a place. Just keep an eye on how the workers use the area during their breaks.

Since they're less worried about getting their work clothes dirty, they're not bashful about finding comfortable places to sit when there aren't proper benches around. Their seating choices largely illustrate locations where there could be a general interest in sitting, since the desire to watch the crowds during lunch is such a broadly shared human interest. The street furniture they use can also suggest ways these features might be designed differently to deliberately incorporate seating in ways that could be both comfortable and appropriate for long-term maintenance.

The activity these workers bring can also start to activate a street in the interim before new buildings open. Class tensions surface at times between the working-class laborers and affluent residents and workers who usually populate areas with new construction. It is probably too optimistic to hope, but there may be potential for change by exposing these tensions. If nothing else, I find it positive to see the working class claiming some public ownership, if only temporarily, in parts of the city they increasingly can't afford.

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