Anti-kid modifications to public steps

Discuss

137 Responses to “Anti-kid modifications to public steps”

  1. Tenn says:

    Taku-san! Guts are doing well, thanks.

    The thing is, I can actually see in some way why this is. Lots of kids don’t have the common decency to move, or behave correctly in public. Not, perhaps, the majority, but a minority which shouts just as obnoxiously as the minority of Christians do, or Muslims, or whatever other subset of humanity that gets a bad rap from its more vocal few.

    This is disheartening, because it reflects badly on all the rest. Not too far from my gang, the basketball team hung out, and they once spat on a passing person; they used to harass me as I passed by (hey, man, oh wait, it’s a chick, are you sure it’s a girl, maybe it’s a dyke, maybe it’s a dickgirl, hey, dickgirl, show us your dick).

    Loudly, without cessation, and with children in the vicinity. Call me what you wish, the chatter of simians does not depress me, but when my social studies teacher’s three year old daughter is being exposed to swearing and language she doesn’t understand and will repeat, mooning, and misbehavior, I’m rather annoyed.

    At the malls, we’re not allowed to group 3+. There are signs written in ‘txtspk’ to warn of this. “n0 yll n0 kus no grp 3+.”

    Double dating at the mall before hitting the movies? No.

    They implemented it because of hordes of teenagers causing problems in stores uncontrollably. I really do think they should have managed handling each individual group, but… in one way, I see their point. In another, inconvenienced and well-behaved, I don’t.

  2. Xopher says:

    See, Max, your rant at 69 is untouched. None of it crossed the line. Outright namecalling is another thing entirely.

    Actually I really liked the rant at 69. I think it said a lot of true things very cogently.

  3. Mitch says:

    Kudos to them for taking steps to protect
    society from the menace of kids hanging out.

    My city has this problem. They might not
    be hurting anybody, but they dress funny,
    and sometimes they laugh or goof around.
    Seeing young people having fun in an
    unstructured way reminds me that I have
    to work and reminds me that I’m growing
    older.

    That simply cannot be tolerated.

  4. raisedbywolves says:

    Sick. Sick. Sick.

    This is a teeny tiny version of the architectural crimes Eyal Weizman describes in this essay:

    http://www.monu.org/monu5/architectsDo.pdf

    The designers who carry out this project are committing urbicide.

  5. Antinous says:

    Children and adolescents learn from the adults around them. The correspondence might not be 100%, but if a society sees a 50% increase in anti-social behavior by adolescents, the responsibility lies with the adults who never taught them how to behave around other people. Changing the steps won’t solve anything. It will just piss them off.

  6. Antinous says:

    If they really want to be proactive, they should just sterilize the population. There’s no more effective way to control unruly youth than making sure that they’re never born in the first place. Imagine the peace and quiet.

  7. Xopher says:

    Or, Go, actually hire someone (preferably over 40) to go hang out with the kids and be their pal. I guarantee that the evening after the first time you do that, the place will be bereft of teenage life.

    Seriously, I’m sofa king SICK of the anti-teenager attitude that our society is somehow not ashamed of. They’re basically treated as vermin to be kept away from anything real people might want to use. I think that’s hateful and disgusting.

    “Giving them something better to do” isn’t going to work. Hanging out is what teenagers do; I personally believe it’s an essential part of the socialization process that prepares them to become adults.

    My answer? GET USED TO IT. Teenagers are citizens too, gods damn it, even though they’re not (and this is critical) voters. As Cory said at his reading in NYC last Monday, “get involved in electoral politics.” If I were a teen in that town I’d pick a council candidate who voted for this travesty and work for whomever opposes them.

  8. Matt J says:

    Our British society is quickly becoming very child-phobic. At the same time as being terrified of strangers, in case they turn out to be paedophiles, we also victimise teenagers, who are merely loitering in public, because they have nothing else to do. Will building these loiter proof steps help? No, it will make the teenagers hang out somewhere else.

  9. Xopher says:

    Tenn, it’s collective punishment and it’s wrong.

    You might consider discreetly ratting out the b-ball team to their coach. Coaches don’t tend to like that sort of thing. If nothing else, they might be kept at practice running laps, which could keep them away for day or so.

    And by “discreetly” I mean anonymously. The coach probably doesn’t have the sense to know why you wouldn’t want them to know who ratted them out.

  10. elNico says:

    There have been more relationships formed on dirty stairs than on dating sites…although those numbers might be changing.

  11. mgfarrelly says:

    Every pound spent on researching, arguing for, and installing this garbage could be spent creating programming that would appeal to young people and ultimately do the community some actual good.

  12. Tenn says:

    Xopher, as one of the collectively punished, I do see that it is wrong. It’s just, at certain points, I see why people dislike teenagers; the way they handle that dislike is inappropriate, and disliking the group as a whole is inappropriate; but it’s understandable. Needs to be corrected, though. We’re people too.

    Tried it. The coach is the one who said we were soft-core porning it out there. He dislikes the Corps, and he especially dislikes homosexuality, masculinity from a female, etc. He bleeds conservative (don’t ask about why he can’t support ROTC and the army, I’ve never understood), and in his opinion, ‘boys will be boys’.

    We’ve essentially solved the problem, first by Kameron nearly knocking them out for throwing a ball at me, then by becoming juniors and high ranking officers and losing all leisure time.

  13. Jake0748 says:

    “the local council, in the name of cater[ing] for all sections of the local community…”

    Well, at least they’re providing food.

    Daniel @43, Turn it into a ramp? Are you crazy man? Then they’ll just SKATEBOARD on it! Oh noes.

  14. Antinous says:

    Um, closet?

  15. Init Kute says:

    This is ridiculous. Leave kids be. If they aren’t causing any trouble, what’s wrong with that? They’re at least outside with their friends and not stuck inside being lazy!
    Taking steps to deter kids from having a sitdown in rosehill

  16. Tenn says:

    Well, in my experience closeted sorts are also the Army sort, and the “I will kick your ass if you so much toe my lawn” sort. He’s conservative in other manners, too, except for ROTC. I’m suspecting that it’s because it allows girls (and allows girls in COMMAND! What scandal!)

    At any rate, I made someone push and he told me that can only happen on “JROTC territory”, and yet I’ve been made to push and he’s said nothing, or a male’s made another male cadet push and he’s said nothing.

    But closet is possible. He’s nearing his seventies, so perhaps he can’t get his arthritic fingers to twist the knob.

  17. meeware says:

    Rubbish attitude, and really lame approach- BUT- architecture does change societies, and it is driven by the politics of those societies, and at least that’s being recognised and realised here. Yes, it is a wanton attempt to diminish the utility and pleasure afforded by an environment to a sub set of a society, but at least it’s trying to DO something. And it’s a part of town that does need some action! Sutton sucks, seriously- it has the most annodyne, souless and corporate high street in Greater London, and not a single decent pub to its name. Borking up a single set of steps is the least of it’s problems.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Our British society is quickly becoming very child-phobic. BECOMING? Because shipping them off to boarding school at a young age wasn’t child-phobic at all.

  19. CreativeEmbassy says:

    Honestly, couldn’t the problem simply be a lack of benches to sit on? Lots of places in my area (Central Pennsylvania) ask kids to not sit on stairs because people are trying to actually use them as stairs.

    And I’m sure there are lots of ways to keep stairs convenient for walkers while uncomfortable to anyone (not just children) who loiter on them. But the idea to get rid of railings because loiterers ‘lean’ on them is asinine.

  20. raisedbywolves says:

    Adrian, thank you for having done your reading on designing public space. The sanity is refreshing.

  21. Tweeker says:

    The problem with putting benches in is that people might loiter upon them in a seated position.

  22. Takuan says:

    make them famous. Camcorder and confederate, Youtube upload.

  23. arkizzle says:

    Actually I really liked the rant at 69.

    Photoshopped! I can tell by the pixels (and having seen a few shops in my day).

  24. pete_darby says:

    It’s like the seats you get in UK bus stations now, specifically designed to “discourage vagrants”… which mean you get a bus station, where the passengers are often elderly, having to sit on seats that are designed to be uncomfortable to rest on (and to rest you shopping, drink or children on too).

  25. JSG says:

    The steps are there for a reason, walking on and not sitting on, they make chairs for that. So maybe the teens can go anywhere they please, as long as they continue to move along while on the steps. Maybe to the nearest coffeehouse or sit in the grass beside the steps in question?

  26. Tenn says:

    I like the way you think. I might stir up trouble just for the sake of it.

  27. mrbill1234 says:

    Charlie @50:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/7175458.stm

    There is a rational fear of youths. Unfortunately we don’t have a zero tolerance type system in the UK – if we did, some of our youths would not do the above.

  28. madjo says:

    Now it’s just waiting for the first person to fall of ‘the steps’. Or elderly people too scared to use them, because they have no guardrail to lean on.

    I’m not sure what’s worse…

  29. Jelf says:

    I can quite understand the actions of Sutton Council.

    The picture shows clearly that the steps are very near to houses – as a resident said in the linked article, “the problem is the noise they make as many neighbours have young children”.

    I live opposite a low wall (about two feet high) which is favoured by young people as a place to hang out. In the summer, they make noise until about 4am, leave bottles, cans and cigarette butts on the ground and create a horrible atmosphere in which local people feel unsafe. If you ask them to moderate their behaviour, they become aggressive. The only way (believe me, I’ve thought about this a lot) to put a stop to it is with schemes like this. I’ve even thought about installing a ‘mosquito’.

    It saddens me that councils have to resort to this kind of scheme but unfortunately many young people seem unable to regulate their behaviour, leaving their communities with little choice.

    In my opinion, their right to ‘hang out’ ends where my right to a decent night’s sleep begins.

  30. Norfolkadam says:

    As a teenager who regually sits on steps; if someone turned the steps we sit on into anti-sitting steps we would make an extra-special effort to sit there. Infact we would probably bring camp stools to make a protest.

    People just don’t understand how to deter teenagers like a teenager does. And it sure as hell isn’t mosquitoes.

  31. Dustin Driver says:

    Ooo ooo, I got it! Just give them all copies of GTA IV!!!

  32. manicbassman says:

    they should have replaced the steps with gentle ramps and used the cover story that they were making the spaces compatible with wheelchair access…

  33. Argon says:

    Some time back IIRC there was a story about someone being harassed by authorities because he was sitting on a low concrete wall in a park (apparently intended for sitting on). Anyone have a link handy?

  34. GregLondon says:

    (waves cane)

    Hey you kids, get off my public park lawn!

  35. Jelf says:

    @ #14, Norfolkadam

    So how should we deter you? I’d love to know!

  36. madjo says:

    @Jelf #13, have you tried calling the police for those few troublemakers? Where I live if people make too much noise after 10pm, you can call in the police. (if all other options so far have failed)

    This measure does perhaps help against the nuisance at night, but it also disadvantages the people that do not create said nuisance during the day/evening. And it seems (from the comments on that page) that there is very little else locally where the kids can meet up and socialize.

    You know what’s funny?
    All around me I hear people complain “Kids spend too much time behind the computer, they don’t go out and socialize anymore”..
    and here we have kids socializing, and being outside, and still people complain about that. Funny…

  37. jhhl says:

    Build a better neightborhood in the first place:
    http://www.patternlanguage.com/

  38. Tenn says:

    the right to hold a bank account and property outside your parents estate regardless of age

    I don’t agree with regardless of age. At an earlier age, perhaps, but entirely in ignorance of age- no. That would open up children ignorant of business practices to business dealing, and none but children would be the victims. Say a grandfather leaves his inheritance to his five year old grandson; the boy does not know the value of a parcel of land from the value of a lollipop.

    you have no idea how insulting that is.

    Why can’t I have an idea how insulting it is? What exempts me? Tell me that.

    regarding religion, it should be illegal for an adult to force a religion on their child in any way

    Agreed. But that does not refer to the specific case I was citing- movies. You said it’s wrong for movies to be rated 17+. The rating system actually helps freedom of expression in movies by allowing people to know what will be in any given movie, and freeing producers from potential lawsuits because of the movie being rated.

    As a former jew and outspoken atheist,

    Nontheistic Buddhist in a Pentecostal household. I feel your pain, but-

    They can’t force you to believe anything. If you speak your atheism to your parents, they have every right to speak their theism to you as their child. They can’t make you can believe. They can have you prepare and have a bar mitzvah, they can have you attend synagogue, they can have you read Torah. Children should be able to say, “no, I do not believe,” but being a minor in a household of theists, you’re never going to escape the influence.

    If you say “I don’t believe in God, and this is why you shouldn’t either,” they have the right to say, “We believe in God, and this is why you should.”

    Now, forced lack of treatment / treatment / other dangers as seen by society should be prevented.

    But your parents do have -some- right, if not -complete- right, to teach you according to their religion, just as they teach you according to their culinary preferences, their moral preferences, etc.

  39. Lastard says:

    I find this recent trend towards ‘bio control’ really scary, e.g. the language that is used in the promotion of ‘mosquitoes’. Example:
    http://www.compoundsecurity.co.uk/teenage_control_products.html
    (‘medical’ control?)

    With all these CCTV cameras about that probably created (!) the phenomenon of ‘hoodies’, it would be good if teenagers would be ‘allowed’ a space where they could escape control freaks of all kind. Even when you are not a teenager, there seems to be fewer spaces in urbanised areas where you can truly relax – you always feel watched. Who knows that if you unconsciouly poke your nose or kiss your girlfriend it might end up on youtube…
    On the other hand, it does make people inventive – and more angry and distrustful of the state and their attitude towards human rights.

  40. igpajo says:

    Jackasimov said: And #25 IGPAJO, I remember you. You were fucking funny looking.

    LMAO!

  41. twig says:

    #42, thanks for mentioning Jane Jacobs, that’s the first thing I thought of when I was reading this story.

  42. Jelf says:

    @ Madjo, above

    Yes, but the police here are so slow that the kids have always left by the time they turn up. Also, I live above my place of work (an art gallery) which has invitingly large windows to smash – the kids can always tell who’s called the police and resent it massively, even though I always give them a fair warning. That’s the key point: these kids use the threat of violence against anyone who objects to their behaviour but we can’t use any kind of force against them. We’re powerless.

  43. mortis says:

    I am glad in our town that they have tried to revitalize the park areas. I felt so bad for the day-workers and in the evening, the drug dealers, having nowhere to sit.

  44. Norfolkadam says:

    @ Jelf

    Hm, good question. I’m not exactlly an average teenager. Well I might be actually, but I’m not what the media percieve as a teenager.

    To be honest there is rarely any point in detering teenagers from doing anything. As either a) they will do it more to make a point or b) they will do it somewhere else.

  45. Antinous says:

    they should simply have replaced the steps with a ramp citing wheelchair access reasons

    ManicBassMan,

    For the disabled who are not on wheels, ramps are deadly.

    Max,

    Children are still regarded as property. It pisses me off as much at fifty as it did when I was fifteen.

    JHHL,

    Thanks for mentioning Christopher Alexander’s book. Some of these issues were also raised in this thread about public benches.

  46. sfocata says:

    Jelf: “The picture shows clearly that the steps are very near to houses – as a resident said in the linked article, “the problem is the noise they make as many neighbours have young children”.”

    I’m not sure exactly where these steps are, but Rosehill isn’t the sort of place where the voices of chattering teens are going to disturb your reverie. The centrepiece of the area is a busy 6-way roundabout, where buses pass frequently throughout the night, and there’s always a steady stream of traffic to the nearby St Helier hospital.

    I think the noise issue is a red herring; I’m guessing the (Liberal Democrat) council are trying to score a political point over the traditionally less tolerant Tories.

    Oh, and the best comment on the original Sutton Guardian article… “SO WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO ABOUT ALL THE DRUNKEN BUM ADULTS THAT SIT AROUND THE REST OF SUTTON THEN??”

  47. squibix says:

    @ #14, Jelf

    You’re powerless? An adult, a voter, and a business-owner, and you feel powerless compared to a bunch of kids? I remember being that age (it wasn’t *that* long ago!) I didn’t feel like I had a great deal of power over any aspect of my life at that point. Maybe that’s the problem.

  48. Precarious Loaf says:

    The UK should adopt a similar policy of youth control that Japan has.

    Battle Royale!

  49. max says:

    tenn,
    the you don’t know how insulting that is comment was just a hyperbole, you can probably guess how insulting that is. And regarding estate and business control, i added that in the event that it would be detrimental to the child’s interest then that can be revoked. I don’t exactly expect an 8 year old to control his own funds, but for anyone else who can make rational business dicisions then why not? regarding the 17+ designation for movies it does nothing to tell you what’s in a movie. if you say fuck twice, the movie is R rated, but even if you go as far as to torture and kill a person in graphic detail, that movie falls under the same rating. Instead the system should serve purely as a guidline, not aged based but content based (ex. contains blood and violence or contains rude or offensvie language etc.) I understand the limitations because i recognize that many children can’t have certain rights for their own safety, but i also understand that as an adolescent with a fairly mature sense of judgement, these laws are unjust and insulting. If someone proves a danger to themselves or others, their rights can and should be limited, just as it would apply to any adult.

  50. Takuan says:

    Tenn-san: holding the blade at your opponent’s throat is already victory. Anything more is extra.

  51. RevEng says:

    If Britain is so scared of kids, why don’t they just stop having them? Given enough time, this will solve the problem permanently.

  52. pixeltone says:

    However, aside from this, there is a good reason to discourage people (of any age) from sitting on stairs: because it impedes the passage of those using the stairs for their intended purpose.

    I had no idea there were so many dumb and deaf people. Now I understand why so many cannot say “excuse me” and why so many people cannot hear an “excuse me” if it is even said.

    Kidding aside, yes, there are bad kids, but linking to an article in which somebody was beaten to death by drunk kids is a hell of a lot different than most encounters I experience. I’ve run across my share of drunk/high teens but those I’ve run across who are merely hanging out to be away from prying eyes far outnumber the drunkard types.

    FWIW, when I say “excuse me” I cannot fully remember the last teen who wouldn’t give me room to pass. And I’m no menace, I’m shorter than most teens and weigh a buck and a half. And whenever I’ve had an issue, I say excuse me to somebody else. Problem solved.

    Of course, I’m not going to be dumb enough to persist when I realize that the teens I’ve encountered are ready to rumble.

    Even then my fear is only heightened because I have had so little interaction with teens since I was one myself. Which is what I suspect is a primary root of this problem. If adults are in too much fear of teens, most likely it is because they have not had any continued interaction with them since they were teens themselves. That there is the adults’ problem, not the teens.

    Oh, and what Adrian said. :)

  53. minTphresh says:

    max and tenn sans, nice bits of rantism! yes, max. the diemvowelling can seem harsh, but naturally with a cooler head, one can gather up ones entrails, and boing on as a wiser, gentler in-sect. i ‘member what it was like to be a young misunderstood skater-punk, being chase thru the high-rise parking lots by overweight rent-a-cops just for getting a bit of exercise. but i digress. enjoy! best of luck with the whole ‘criminal shootin’ thing.

  54. noen says:

    Hey Max, sorry about all that and I agree with Xopher, nice rant. I agree with some parts, not all of it.

    Glad to see you’re ok Tenn, people missed you.

    I’m off to watch Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” a second time and get my mind blown a second time. Nite.

  55. igpajo says:

    The old will always fear the young.

    I remember when I was a funny looking skate punk back in the 80′s getting kicked out of a skywalk mall in downtown Spokane for sitting on a bench and drinking a milkshake. We were sitting next to a couple old people and a family with kids who were eating ice cream cones. We weren’t being obnoxious or rude, just sitting there with our skate boards. But the security guards kicked us out for loitering. I got pretty obnoxious with him then, pointing out the other people doing the same thing, but they could’ve cared less. Happened all the time. And it will always happen to folks who look a bit different than the generation before it.

    I hope the kids who hang out at the steps in the article keep on hanging out after the city wastes all that money.

  56. Tenn says:

    Oh, and Max, I forgot to clarify that I agree with the majority of your argument. The bits I responded to were just bits I felt hurt your argument, but otherwise- I concur with the rest of the folk here.

  57. Scarybug says:

    Won’t somebody please think of the chiiiiildreeeeen? (loitering)

    Seriously city councils, kids need more stuff to do outside, not less. When all they have to do is drugs and video games, that’s all they’ll do. You’d better build them a nice skate park to make up for this.

  58. Tenn says:

    Night Noen, sleep well.

  59. acb says:

    The position of youth in British society is a bit problematic, and there’s too much to go into here. However, aside from this, there is a good reason to discourage people (of any age) from sitting on stairs: because it impedes the passage of those using the stairs for their intended purpose. A lot of places have signs forbidding sitting on stairs for this reason.

    Maybe next they can devise a system that prevents groups of people from congregating and talking at choke points such as narrow corridors and doorways, as they inevitably do.

  60. darkbhudda says:

    In places with plenty of benches there are kids who choose to sit on the steps blocking the way. They think it is some great rebellious act to be rude to people. They openly admit it and find it amusing.

    There’s a limit to how much people will put up with before they start to punish all youth.

    Should they have benches? Yes. Will it stop all kids from sitting on the steps even when there are plenty of free benches? No.

  61. Anonymous says:

    There were a bunch of local teens hanging out in the street in front of my house, directly under my infant daughter’s window, in my old neighborhood (I’ve since moved for other reasons).

    The second night they were there, I went out at 1:00 AM and politely asked them to keep the noise down. Then I stayed and hung out with them until they left, and the next time they showed up I went and hung out with them until they left, and they stopped showing up after that.

    Apparently a middle-aged white man isn’t cool enough to hang with the gangsta youth. Problem solved, no need to call the police, no need to get anyone in trouble. Sure I was tired the next morning, but minor annoyances are part of being a property owner, it’s like replacing lightbulbs or fixing the drains.

    I find it hard to have any sympathy for people who can’t handle these sorts of problems, it’s really just part of being a responsible adult. I don’t claim to be particularly brave, mind you, I’m just not a coward. Most people today are complete quivering terrorized wimps so a normal person seems brave by comparison…

    –Charlie

  62. Go says:

    Easy answer … just have a few parents hang out on the steps with the kids or their kids … the kids will leave soon enough out of total boredom … unless the parents are just kids and doing what kids do on steps …

  63. M says:

    Seems to me that we have an excellent example here of how bad public policy is made. . . in fact, it sounds like America in Iraq.

    They have a problem, kids making noise, so to solve it they attack something else that’s not the problem, the comfort of steps, because that’s easier than trying to figure out a real solution to the real problem, and correct that instead. Now they’ve made steps uncomfortable, and perhaps unsafe, and probably the kids will go somewhere else and create the exact same problem as before because the source problem wasn’t really dealt with. And the “authorities”, still clueless, will attempt to regulate their behavior in yet another way that doesn’t deal with the core problem, causing more problems of some other sort.

    Meanwhile, a bunch of upstanding citizens like some above, will cheer them on in a “yeah, that’ll show them!” sort of way for doing the wrong, ineffective thing, encouraging them to do more stupid things and spend more money on things that don’t work and piss more people off.

  64. Jackasimov says:

    IGPAJO (Jackasimov said: And #25 IGPAJO, I remember you. You were fucking funny looking.

    LMAO!): I was going to put a ;) after it so you’d know I was goofing but it seemed kind of weak of me to pull after saying what I said. So… ;)

    Everyone else: Kids get plenty of slack. Plenty. I don’t know where you’re all coming from that you think they’ve got it so bad. Kinda pandering to the poor li’l blighters, really. I really don’t know when they’ve had it better. Kids know full well what they’re doing and can be held accountable like anyone else; they’re not fkucing dogs fer chrissakes. I haven’t seen or heard of any outright uprising against youth since LA in the late 70s/early 80s. Where is this rampant discrimination taking place?

    Seriously? They’re revamping a set of stairs so kids won’t sit on them and block foot traffic. Cruel! It’s not like kids are being driven out with sticks. Go sit on the grass and sip your Slurpee.

    #33 arkizzle: “Except young people do get harrased, all the time, for nothing more than being there. You even admit it as a personal experience, but dismiss it as irrelevant. As you say, the article doesn’t mention if the kids are dicks.

    Your high horse, let me help you down from it.”

    Prove that young people get harrassed all the time. Prove that they don’t. Prove that neither is true. You can’t. What kind of argument is that? I sited a simple personal example. I dismissed the few times it did happen. It was irrelevant and non-scarring. We hated the cops in question, they were afraid of what they didn’t understand – or maybe they got beat up by their step-fathers, who knows. We moved on. Got over it. No big deal. Not worth your concern.

    As far as my high horse goes…sir, I do not appreciate your implication. My horse is no higher than the next one I assure you. Well, maybe a little. OK, you look pretty tiny from up here.

  65. iamcantaloupe says:

    With this talk about both kid licensing and the responsibility of the parents to teach kids to not be obnoxious:

    How about parent licensing?

  66. manicbassman says:

    I’m going to repeat it… they should simply have replaced the steps with a ramp citing wheelchair access reasons… the steps would no longer be there for the children to sit on… simple…

  67. Antinous says:

    Permit me to express polite incredulity at the notion that you weren’t scarred by some experience of your youth. Your peremptory dismissal of the feelings of children and adolescents is too bitter to be incidental.

  68. mgfarrelly says:

    Another question: Who are we keeping all these public spaces nice and tidy for? Is someone coming to judge us by the number of kids sitting on the stoop? Or hold us to account because “vagrants” (what an awful term for a human being) might “sit” on benches?

    Kids and “vagrants” are people. They should have every right to congregate in a public space. Adults being scared of them should not be their problem.

  69. Jackasimov says:

    #39 Raisedbywolves: I agree more or less but then what is the solution? Free for all? Classes for parents to teach their children civility? It’s a good question. Certainly, the answer isn’t to just give every child exactly what they want when and how they want it. I think that’s part of the reason there are as many spoiled little prices and princesses as there seem to be in the world.

    Who knew when designing that lovely set of public stairs that it would be commandeered by people sitting on it blocking traffic. Who cares if it’s kids or not, really. If I had to squeeze by office ladies gabbing and eating Big Macs everyday to get where I was going then it constitutes an issue worth addressing. Now, if those same ladies also had bookbags, skateboards, were smoking pot, and poked me with sticks when I walked by then it needs to be looked at with even greater immediacy.

  70. BdgBill says:

    I am all for this type of thing.

    I am 39 and have been unable to tolerate teenagers since shortly after I was one myself. I plan trips the mall, movies, restaurants, even vacations and flights based on the liklelihood of encountering teens or children.

    To all those people who think this is discrimination against a bunch off good kids. I doubt you have ever lived or worked near an outdoor location where teens congregate. Besides the noise, I can guarantee you will see a hotspot of petty crime, vandalisim, litter, drug use etc.

  71. Jackasimov says:

    #127: LOL; you know me far to well, sir.

    I really don’t believe I’m being dismissive, rather I’m accepting them as fully rational human beings with free will and a pretty good grasp of how the world works. We’re not talking about toddlers at the playground here.

    I’d like to say some of my best friends are children adolescents, but that might come off as, I don’t know, worse?

  72. Jackasimov says:

    Poor babies.

    In the interest of being PC, the article never mentions if the kids are actually being dicks or not. It they’re being dicks and harassing people, as some dicks are wont to do, then they should be moved on – with force if necessary.

    I don’t think it’s particularly ageist to suggest that there just aren’t a lot of adults hanging out in the midst of where people are trying to conduct life. If they were, they’d surely be relocated one way or another.

    I was a teenager once. I had friends. We hung out. We minded our own business. Had fun. Were sometimes on drugs. Even smoked. And we didn’t harass people or make a nuisance of ourselves. Consequently, we we’re almost never harassed in return by the general public. The cops that did harass us were small-peckered tools, and we expected as much from them – but we never had any reason to feel discriminated against, and we sure didn’t need people coming to our defense as poor helpless adolescents.

    Fun isn’t necessarily a privilege. Go make fun and hang out somewhere where you aren’t underfoot.

    And lastly…stop being dicks and people won’t give a crap about you or what you do. Maybe that’s the point.

    And #25 IGPAJO, I remember you. You were fucking funny looking.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Remember: all terrorists start out as children.

  74. JSG says:

    I haven’t been a teenager in 12 years but, thanks to arrested development, I still think like a teenager.

    Ways to deter teenagers:

    1. Old people, if you have old people standing around the steps then you will see no one under the age of 21 around the steps.

    2. Larger teenagers, football players and the like, if you have larger teenagers standing around the steps the smaller weak ones will run as best they can with the wedgies that the larger teenagers will give them. Of course then you must deal with the older teenagers.

    3. People in a position of power, this can include police, soldiers, and if necessary, politicians, though that will probably put them to sleep.

  75. raisedbywolves says:

    JackAsimov, that’s an interesting question. It’s definitely one that we who design public spaces run into all the time. The fact is that at some point, the tools we use to regulate spaces run out of strength. The normal signs and signals a society uses to show people what a space is for start to mean nothing if a society forgets what they mean.

    One thing we should probably remember, unless we plan to follow the centuries-old tradition of becoming bitter old people who complain endlessly about “kids today” and the decline and fall of western civilization, is that the redefinition of public space can also be very constructive. It can be a renewal.

    As an example, think about the way young people disobeyed their elders in the 1960′s and began using the lawns in public parks – which were previously meant only to look at – as a place to sit and hang out. You can bet their elders were not excited about that in the least! But today, we can all enjoy sitting on the lawns and consider it something approaching an inalienable right to do so.

    That’s one aspect of the problem then: the usage patterns in public spaces are always going to change faster than we can design new spaces. You get skateboarders, people who do urban parcours, people who sit on steps. At some level you need to accept this and not take it as a personal insult, even if it can be confusing and disturbing.

    The next thing to do is to try and figure out strategies to deal with those changes.

    One thing you can occasionally do is create a new place that’s tailored to the specifications of some public space users, like a skate park. That’s fairly easy, and it’s a strategy that picks up the problem at the point where it becomes visible. A skate park is combating a problem in public space by creating a new public space, which is easy to conceptualize and also fun. But don’t ask me what we’re going to do with all those skate parks when kids don’t like to skate anymore!

    There are also regulatory strategies, which don’t have much to do with creating new spaces at all. I’m not sure what it’s like in the UK but many countries have had a lot of success with community policing strategies. You get a neighborhood cop who works the same beat for years, earning the respect of the kids from a young age and getting to know them. It works a lot better than having some random anonymous guy come by and harass them.

    One thing I think we don’t do enough of is get kids to tell us what they want. Designers tend to assume they know what kids will like. We love to plan things like youth centers or sports fields and say, “See? That’s for the kids!” but many of these spaces turn out to be too overregulated, too formal, too forced.

    Basically I think this town needs to have a design workshop with the kids. They are basically screaming that something is missing in their lives. Clearly they are missing a space they can make their own without bugging people. Probably they also have too much time on their hands. The city needs to try and find a solution with them, not work against them.

    Though frankly, it sounds like the UK’s attitude toward its youth has become essentially diseased. And most of our societal neuroses and diseases eventually come to haunt our cities in physical form. See also: The Israeli/Palestinian wall, suburbs without sidewalks, and many other pathological buildings and places.

    That’s why I think architects and planners need to have some kind of Hippocratic oath: “I will not do harm to the bodies of our cities”. It’s the wrong strategy. It’s the opposite of how our public space – which ought to be a place an open society can go to enjoy its rights and privileges together – should look. We should be refusing to build this crap!

    /rant over

  76. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Jackasimov, you are not quite over the line, but you’re very close to it.

    If I were doing enforcement in that area, I’d talk to the kids and work out a set of rules that would let them keep hanging out there: no littering, no drugs or alcohol or fights, no excessive PDAs, keep the noise down, keep the noise down even more after mid-evening, and you absolutely positively have to stand up and give way any time other people need to use the steps.

    What they get in return for basic good behavior is not being harassed when they’re behaving, and not being subject to group punishment.

    If that went well, I’d offer them a certain amount of proprietary right to that turf — IF they undertook to help women with baby carriages and pensioners and gimps who are shlepping groceries to get up and down the steps, and to otherwise help maintain public order there.

    One reason teenagers behave badly is that they’re treated like juvenile delinquents unless they can prove otherwise — and there’s no way for them to prove otherwise. We give nothing to kids who would be glad to behave civilly if it meant they could also have the benefits and protections of a member of civil society: no arbitrary punishments en masse in retaliation for individual misdeeds; no tolerance by authorities of their being assaulted or harassed; presumption of innocence until proven guilty; freedom from unreasonable search and seizure; and all the other things adults expect as a matter of course.

  77. Mitch says:

    A couple of people raised concerns about kids sitting on the stairs either blocking access to
    the stairs or causing trouble.

    1. The stairs look wide enough to accommodate both
    sitting and climbing.

    2. Are there police in the UK? If the kids are nicely sitting on the stairs, leave them alone. If
    they are committing a crime, arrest or cite them
    for that crime.

  78. Tenn says:

    If someone proves a danger to themselves or others, their rights can and should be limited, just as it would apply to any adult.

    Points taken and granted.

    How would we go about creating something which could monitor / make sure these rights are allowed, however? Who would determine what young person is capable of making reasonable decisions? Courts would gravitate their bias towards the adult as they always have.

    The NSRB system has some flaws, but it (and synopsis on Google) basically serve to show parents what their children will be watching. I think the ‘language’ part of the NSRB needs a major rehaul, but I agree with the 17+ rating system. A year ago, when I was sixteen and I wanted to see R rated movies, my mother or another adult would buy the tickets. If my mother disagreed (she did often, she’s Pentecostal), someone else would- I asked a drill sergeant once.

  79. Susan Oliver says:

    @Teresa, #60 – no excessive PDAs

    Of course I immediately thought – “right, Treos and Blackberries are OK, but NO iPHONES!”

    Oh, and will you marry me, Adrian Short? I love your logic.

  80. Artemis says:

    But that’s what the public sphere is all about! I mean, they’re kids, but gathering and talking about common affairs is always important!

    It’s a shame how (even) children apparently challenge and mortify our governments.

  81. Adrian Short says:

    @ Jackasimov, #128.

    The complaints from local residents are about people sitting on these steps making noise late at night, not about them being blocked to passers-by.

    It may be that they are blocked occasionally, but that’s not what people have complained about nor the motivation for the proposed changes.

  82. Chevan says:

    My biggest problem with this is that shallow, long stairs are a bitch to walk up. Unless your stride perfectly matches the length they chose, it’s not natural at all.

  83. insomma says:

    That’d lure skateboarders though, or Tenn’s soft core pornstar friends. :)

  84. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    My first thought was Muzak. Preferably incompetently played string arrangements of whatever is on the teenagers’ favorite radio station at the moment. That’ll get them scurrying. What a great way to employ underutilized musicians! Create teen-repellent music. Two problems solved at a stroke.
    I should go on road trips more often. Clears the head wonderfully.

  85. max says:

    I’m 15, and as a kid i’m subjected to agism constantly and it disgusts me. I’ll admit there are kids who make trouble and i get into my fair share of shit, but there are far far more adults committing far far worse crimes then kids. If you really want to deter criminals with proactive engineering then demolish Capitol Hill. The attitude people take towards adolescents is totally ridiculous. They prescribe to puritan ideas that are backwards and outdated by at least 50 years. Just the fact that i can’t see an R movie is a goddamn violation of my first amendment rights. Do you seriously think your going to show me something i haven’t seen? I grew up with the internet, I know more about sex, drugs and foul language then any of these self righteous adults. And if you seriously think that it will prevent me from seeing the movie is idiotic, because i’ll just find the torrent. Jesus, you should just see my DVD collection. But back to the point, real criminals don’t sit on steps or stand in front of 7-11 smoking joints, real criminals move coke and guns through ghettos, real criminals sell surplus arms to African warlords, real criminals veto legislation to invest in green energy, real criminals send children to die in the blood soaked desert, real criminals take bribes and send innocent men to jail. Real criminals are adults, and how dare anyone point the finger at me or my generation, I’m inheriting this mess that the baby boomers dropped in my lap, and when i do, I’m gonna be proactive by making sure that all the real criminals are tried and shot. I’ve sat by and taken this bullshit for too damn long. Greatest Generation my ass.

  86. arkizzle says:

    JackAsimov

    stop being dicks and people won’t give a crap about you or what you do.

    Except young people do get harrased, all the time, for nothing more than being there. You even admit it as a personal experience, but dismiss it as irrelevant. As you say, the article doesn’t mention if the kids are dicks.

    Your high horse, let me help you down from it.

  87. Xopher says:

    Hmm, ISTM 61 is posted in the wrong thread.

  88. sazzamook says:

    I see the point from both sides. I live on a huge park in the city centre in Scotland, so there are ‘yoofs’ who do the whole drinking/shouting/abuse thing but not all of them do. A bunch of them think it’s cooler to watch me play tennis with my 2 dogs :)

    It’s a shame that where I also live, on many streets there are signs warning about fines for playing football/games/skates/having a life etc…

    What are kiddies to do? The comment earlier was spot on: we (as adults lol, moan and complain that they spend all day talking to their cyber mates, or even their ‘real’ friends online more than they do in person. ‘I was out till it was dark!’ we say. But when the police are called night after night, day after day, you do tend to get a bit of an attitude. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong attitude…

  89. acb says:

    @50: That could work. Or you could end up being stabbed, like the father-of-two who went outside to ask some youths to please not smash the windows of his car.

    Granted, chances are you won’t be stabbed, but what level of risk is acceptable? If you live in the UK and read the papers, you hear about a new stabbing every day, usually attributed to teenage gangs. Do you want to risk hanging out with those kids outside your house?

  90. Xopher says:

    Nope. Only comment by that poster; links to poster’s website in comment; irrelevant to topic at hand.

  91. Antinous says:

    Nice try, Max. Next time that you lie about being 15, maybe you shouldn’t link to your blog that says that you’re 32. Just a thought.

  92. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    @69: Well put, but I’d like to clarify a point. We’re the Baby Boom, born through 1973. We’re sticking you with several unholy messes to deal with. The Greatest Generation are our parents, who stuck us with a different set of unholy messes.

    Oh, and you’re welcome for the Internet. We thought you’d like that.

  93. Takuan says:

    hee hee!

  94. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Who is more likely to lie about his age, a 32 year old or a 15 year old?

  95. ephcee says:

    In my hometown there was a a park bench in front of the post office where old men used to congregate. People (mostly women) began complaining that these old men were harrassing them as they picked up their mail, so the bench was removed and the problem moved across the street to the legion.

    But they also turned the high school into an old folks home, so I guess we’re pretty even…

    Has anyone tried making friends with the teenagers? Even the “bad” ones are interesting once you get to know them. Just don’t get all offended when they call you a bad name or write gross things on the sidewalk… don’t personalize, they don’t really know your mother…

  96. max says:

    I realize that there are very obvious difficulties to who can or cannot take care of themselves, and with the efficiency of this government, every point i made basically amounts to nothing more then idealism because trusting any federal institution to make sound and objective judgement is an exercise in futility (and a dangerous one at that). But i think i then it should work in the opposite direction. The child either can seek these rights by proving their own competence or wait till they reach actual adulthood whichever comes first. For example I could go to a bank and provide some sort of evidence of my own financial competency, perhaps by taking a test.

    And regarding 17+, even though my mom would let me go to any R rated movie, it’s just a total hassle to have to get her to buy the ticket, especially when a friend drives me. And at Loews theaters if the cashiers are really gung ho corporate suck ups then they won’t sell you a ticket unless your parent goes in the film with you. And who wants to watch an R rated film with their mother? I once watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High with my parents, the awkwardness was so thick you could spread it on toast.

  97. arkizzle says:

    real criminals move coke and guns through ghettos

    No, real criminals move coke and guns through the government.

  98. Tenn says:

    a total hassle to have to get her to buy the ticket, especially when a friend drives me

    You know what would be AWESOME? A system allowing ‘licensing’ for kids to view whatever movies they want, to be out past curfew, etc- to engage in activities that below 17 year olds are commonly capable of. Behave right, get your parents permission, get a Kid License, no hassles. Sure, on the ‘rights’ scale, you shouldn’t have to have a license, but if we’re going by the idea that a lot of kids aren’t going to handle the freedom, the ones that can could get the license. Signed by their parents, accepted by officers as a reason they’re out past curfew. Kid caught doing bad? License taken up, curfew laws apply.

    trusting any federal institution to make sound and objective judgement is an exercise in futility (and a dangerous one at that).

    Ahh, sir, a good head on stable shoulders you have.

  99. max says:

    ww yh ctlly m 15 f y’d rlly lk t knw, ‘m sphmr nd ws brn n 1992, t dsgsts m tht y wld thnk tht ‘d hv t b 32 t rrng smthng tht chrntly. prck.

  100. max says:

    No, it isn’t. The young do not have complete rights.

    you have no idea how insulting that is. But that is wrong though,while we do have limited rights, the first amendment still applies regardless of age. i don’t see any age limitations in the bill of rights. But either way that doesn’t make it right. Like i said before although i wouldn’t exactly give every right to kids for obvious reasons, there are limitations that blatantly disgust me. There are powers adults hold over children that are wrong. For example rights regarding religion, it should be illegal for an adult to force a religion on their child in any way. Not in the way of raising your children in a certain manner, but if they decide to object, the adult should hold no sway. As a former jew and outspoken atheist, this would have been incredibly helpful in my household. Also decisions regarding who cares for you in the event of your parents death, and the right to hold a bank account and property outside your parents estate regardless of age. Currently my parents could liquidate all my accounts if they so pleased, and that is a power they should not have unless it can be proved in a court that it would be dangerous to the child’s well being (ex. child actors).

  101. Ceronomus says:

    In a section of Cincinnati known as “Short Vine”, a PA system was put in to play classical music in an effort to cut down on teen loitering.

    It resulted in loitering teens with an appreciation for classical music.

    Give kids a place to hang out, that is convenient and where they won’t be hassled? They’ll go there. They just want to spend some time with friends.

    As for the stairs? Come on, porches, stoops, and stairs have been congregating points… well… it seems like forever. Certainly as far back as the 20′s and 30′s. Are we so short-sighted that the very activities that we once took part in now frighten us to the point that we must architecturally attack them?

  102. Agent 86 says:

    I’d almost agree with the kid-licensing, except how good a kid is and how good a parent thinks a kid is are wildly different things. My father truly believed my sister went to her wedding bed, at 23, as a virgin. My grandmother still won’t admit my uncle is an alcoholic, even though he has been since the age of 16.

  103. insomma says:

    Back in the 20′s and 30′s young people usually still got up to let their elders pass on the steps.

  104. max says:

    I’d like to apologize for in the heat of the moment being so angry, i should clarify that there are plenty of people who i like from previous generations (and hate in my own), actually close to a billion if not more, but for the exceptions that there are, wsh thm nthng bt pn.

  105. max says:

    what happened to comment 76? wow yeah actlly i’m 15 if you’d really like to knw, i’m sophmore and was born n 1992, here’s proof i exist i’m quoted in this article: http://www.newsday.com/community/news/northshoresuffolk/huntington/ny-linorth0411,0,1623861.story

    oh and P.S., I know who moves the coke, i was referring partly to the government officials who allowed the Contras to bring it across our borders and then started an ineffective war on drugs to look like they were helping the situation. I’ve been to Nicaragua, I’ve seen the cost of this first hand.

  106. Cowicide says:

    The last Anti-kid modification I used was a condom.

  107. TEKNA2007 says:

    Have they not figured out where kids come from?

    If they don’t like kids … stop making them!

    Oh but that requires planning and self-control. Nvm. Gom jabbar: FAIL

  108. Adrian Short says:

    I’ve started a Facebook group to oppose the Council’s plans to modify the steps.

    Anyone who’s interested in seeing how this pans out or who may be able to help is welcome to join. You don’t have to be local. Sign up to preserve good public space and oppose the demonisation of young people.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14791498321

  109. Takuan says:

    hmmpff, just re-read the thread. P.Loaf mentions Battle Royale. Japan manages to not hate her children in groups, perhaps England might take a lesson. Been to Hachijo-kojima by the way, lovely to visit, too many goats.

  110. Antinous says:

    Max,

    Since you’re new to BB, you might want to check the Moderation Policy. The link is in gray above ‘Recent Comments’. It explains BB’s standards for civil discourse and what happens when they’re not met.

  111. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Our borders? I thought you were in London by way of Melbourne? Yes, I read your page before you hastily changed the link.

  112. max says:

    sorry, i’ve been coming to this website for a few years, i just got a little angry, i’ll tone it down and resubmit that comment if it’s really that bad.

  113. Grisly says:

    In light of the UK’s newfound tolerance for things…I say nuke those steps from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
    [I'm only making an Aliens reference joke. Please don't call the bobbies]

    It’s becoming clear why we had a revolution in the first place.
    [This is me not joking]

  114. noen says:

    Your web page says you were born in 1975 Max.

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/07467581018712035512

    maximus smohat

    * Age: 32
    * Gender: Male
    * Astrological Sign: Cancer
    * Zodiac Year: Rabbit
    * Industry: Non-Profit
    * Location: Brooklyn Zoo : New York : Zimbabwe

    About Me

    I was born in a rural home in 1975. Farming is all I’ve known since.

    What’s up with that?

  115. max says:

    wow that was fast, yeah i did that a good while ago, and i don’t like throwing out my age on the internet, but i trust BB boards pretty well. check the link i sent you, i think newsday fact checks, i’m 15 turning 16 in a month.

  116. Jelf says:

    @ Adrian, #114

    I’m curious to know, do you live in Sutton?

  117. ill lich says:

    Well obviously, just put HUGE SHARP SPIKES all over the steps, then they won’t sit there anymore.

  118. ErikO23 says:

    In all these instances of kids hanging out and becoming a nuisance, there is probably a park not too far away that they have been kicked out of.

    build more parks, and don’t bother the kids who hang out there.

    or shit.. if you really want to put a stop to ever single bit of the problem, build a few select parks in the city where pot and underage drinking is legal. you will never ever have a problem with noisy teens again.

  119. Xopher says:

    Liar or not, 69 is an impressive rant.

    Max, you were disemvowelled. That’s what happens when you’re rude and inappropriate here. Please note that no such thing happened to 69, 77, or 78.

  120. raisedbywolves says:

    JackAsimov, why is it that you knew “not to be dicks” and had enough dignity to put up with stupid cops without overreacting?

    I’m pretty sure it had a lot to do with the way you were taught to behave in society, and nothing to do with your elders creating repressive, broken public spaces in order to keep you from hanging out in them.

    What does it say about us when we fail to teach kids how to behave in public space, and try to solve the problem by DESTROYING that public space?

    That is a very perverse kind of thinking, isn’t it?

  121. Antinous says:

    Your story checks out. Angry comments can be okay. Hateful ones, not so much. If you keep it civil, welcome to the discussion.

  122. max says:

    wow yeah that was surprising the word pr’ck gets censored but that huge rant didn’t, hmm. i’ll repeat that i’m sorry about the harshness i might’ve had towards anyone on this comment section. i still stand by what i said in comment 69, but that other stuff was just rude. I have a bit of a temper, especially when an issue like this comes into play. Oh and i’m in new york if rossindetroit was reffering to me.

  123. w000t says:

    This made me think of the Shared space philosophy toward urban planning. Although shared space urban planning focuses largely on traffic control, my alternative suggestion here is of a similar mindset. Rather than using these detestable methods to push kids out of an area, it would be much more effective and socially responsible to simply provide a couple of benches nearby. The kids would use the benches–leaving the steps clear–and feel more welcome. Plus, a couple of benches would probably be a lot cheaper than any of this inanity.

  124. Antinous says:

    UK society ‘demonising’ children – BBC article

    “Compared to other European countries, England has a very low age of criminal responsibility and high numbers of children are locked up. Too many children are being criminalised and brought into the youth justice system at an increasingly young age.”

  125. Adrian Short says:

    @Jelf,

    Yes, I do.

  126. Takuan says:

    but isn’t that Thatcher’s great legacy?

  127. Takuan says:

    I think England’s had failure of vision. I think everyone there knows it. This makes adults and haves feel guilty, ashamed, angry and paranoid. It also makes kids and have-nots give up on tomorrow and behave as if whatever they do, it won’t matter.
    What’s England for, anyway?

  128. Antinous says:

    I checked you out in the first place because your initial rant was borderline civil. Calling a moderator a nasty name is never a good idea.

  129. Adrian Short says:

    A bit more background:

    The steps are in a suburban residential area, in a footpath that runs perpendicularly between two parallel roads.

    The neighbours complain of noise late at night. I have no doubt that there is some merit to their complaints. No-one has mentioned that the steps are blocked by people sitting or that anyone is intimidated, though perhaps that happens from time to time too.

    The council say that there are reasonably good youth facilities in the area, and they’re right. There is a park, a skate park and a “youth shelter” (like a bus stop but without the buses). All that is fine. They have gone to some lengths to inform the young people about these facilities and to encourage them to use them.

    All of which begs the question, So why then do they sit on the steps?

    The most obvious and most pertinent retort is, why shouldn’t they?

    But without even getting into that, let’s make the fairly sound assumption that young people, like everyone else, are capable of making rational decisions about where best to spend their time.

    How about these factors:

    Proximity: the steps are nearer to where the youths live. It’s easier to go there than somewhere more distant. (As it turns out, the park is some distance away and on the other side of a very busy road which is quite hard to cross.)

    Familiarity: you’re most comfortable somewhere you know well.

    Scale and proportions: are important factors in psychological comfort. The steps on this footpath are neither in a huge exposed area or in an inaccessible nook.

    Safety: young people are as vulnerable to danger as anyone else, often from other young people. Being near to home and within sight and earshot of people who may be able to assist them matters. They don’t get this benefit in the park, especially later in the evening when most older people are elsewhere.

    Informality: it feels good to make a place your own, particularly if you have to adapt/adopt it for your needs.

    In short, this place is used by people to gather and socialise because it’s a good place. Other places that may seem to be better, such as the park, perhaps are not as good. The youths are displaying what economists call a “revealed preference”. Their actual behaviour and choices tell us more about what _they_ value than what we might imagine or what the council, thinking in the abstract, imagine they _should_ value.

    Should anyone make a nuisance of themselves in public? Absolutely not.

    Is this proposal likely to work? No.

    Will it destroy something of value that would be hard to replicate elsewhere? It would.

    Can we afford to spend £15,000 erasing every place where some trouble occurs? Better ask the council that.

    A good discussion of these kinds of issues can be found in chapter 4 of Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”. The street is the primary point of social contact in a civilised city. It’s hard enough to design good places intentionally. We shouldn’t be considering destroying good places except where there is overriding necessity. I see none here, just shallow thinking and thoughtless vandalism.

  130. Tenn says:

    This is ridiculous. They’re sitting on steps, in the public; what better way to ensure kids aren’t getting into trouble? In school I and my friends used to hang out on the steps- we’d leave plenty of space to let people by, and when Joshua came by, we’d carry him down (because our school is not built to code and has insufficient ramping), and when the teachers needed help, we’d go grab their stuff and load their trailers, when a car crash happened on the street right over we ran over and helped people out, when a lady lost control of her vehicle and couldn’t get it to move in the middle of traffic we bolted and pushed her out of the way before she got hit (busy intersection).

    We still each and every one of us had the cops called on us because we were leaning on eachother, slightly ‘laying’ and one of the teachers had a problem with it because they said it was inappropriate ‘soft-core porn’.

    Excuse me, but it was strictly platonic. Porn is not by nature platonic, and if it is you’re watching some pretty farked up porn.

    There’s age-ism everywhere, and it’s kind of sickening. The Mosquito building-sound is really infuriating, the curfew laws ridiculous, and getting followed around by security in stores is infuriating.

    Just the fact that i can’t see an R movie is a goddamn violation of my first amendment rights.

    No, it isn’t. The young do not have complete rights. You can’t drink, you can’t drive, you can’t smoke a cigarette. There’s a reason for this; pre-adolescents are less-than-capable of making capable decisions on the average. You may be perfectly coherent, but your peers are not.

    It’s unpleasant, but parents do have a right to monitor what their kid ingests. That extends to movies. If your parent is okay with it, they can escort you in. If your parent isn’t, then you have no business watching the movie, because you are whether you like it or not, a minor.

    I’ll admit there are kids who make trouble and i get into my fair share of shit, but there are far far more adults committing far far worse crimes then kids.

    Ahhh, the “TSBCMANWTT” argument.

    I think this calls for shots!

    And if you seriously think that it will prevent me from seeing the movie is idiotic, because i’ll just find the torrent.

    Hear, hear! Torrents; ensuring I don’t have to sit through movies with dropped-out-sound-bytes since old Al invented the intertubes!

  131. GregLondon says:

    The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

    – Socrates

  132. Dustin Driver says:

    I never got how anyone could actually sit on a city council while its discussing this sort of thing. I would be constantly rolling my eyes, laughing and sporadically crying out “Oh come on!” Do these people honestly thing they’re doing something good for their community?

  133. Takuan says:

    Ho Young Termite! How are your guts?

    Have to agree with you about giving kids a place to be. They have to be SOMEWHERE, why not somewhere clean and safe?

  134. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    SHOTS!

  135. dainel says:

    Oh, just turn them into a ramp. No matter how uncomfortable it is to sit on shallow steps, a ramp is more difficult to sit on. In fact, it’s easier to sit on flat ground than the 30 degree slope of a ramp. And a ramp will make the place accessible to wheelchairs and prams, carrying future teenagers :)

  136. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    FYI:
    TSBCMNWTT: They Should Be Catching Murderers Not Writing Traffic Tickets

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