Homeless at the Mall

A reporter goes undercover as a homeless person to find out what happens when the indigent pay a visit to L.A.'s first corporate-controlled public park.

"When Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso agreed to develop the 15.5-acre plot of city land in Glendale that would become the Americana, he assented to creating a new town center - replete with housing, retail and public space. The selling point of the project was the development of a new, 2-acre park at its center, which would be open for public use. Glendale agreed to provide the land for the entire development, free of charge, with the condition that the city would retain ownership of the park. Caruso Affiliated would be responsible for its design and maintenance.

The result is what L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne describes as "a public space masquerading as private space that is masquerading as public."

This commingling of the public and private sectors potentially creates a series of fascinating and troubling precedents. Most importantly, are we witnessing the origins of a time when fringe elements no longer have the right to exist on public land? Can poverty and political speech be cleansed from public view?

In a world that hinges upon cleanliness and safety, what happens when a little dirt gets in?"

Full Story: Down and Out at the Americana


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