Six Benches: Public Space and College Town Life
Urbanist William H. Whyte once wrote, "It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people. What is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished." But, what happens when a place attracts the "wrong kind" of person?
This weekend, in my hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts, a group of 40 people stood in the cold rain to protest the removal of six benches from our downtown sidewalk. The mayor and the Business Improvement District made the decision based upon complaints from business owners over panhandlers using the benches "too much."