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'Droughtshaming' and the Death of Fun

Laura Bliss provides a summary of the controversy surrounding plans to bring the "Slide the City" event to Temple Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles.
September 22, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Slide the City is based on the "Park and Slide" idea first implemented by Bristol in the United Kingdom. According to Bliss, an online petition to nix the idea for drought-stricken Los Angeles gathered 10,713 signatures and a related hashtag, #droughtshaming, provided a vessel for the message to reach a wider audience of the water conservation-minded public.

As explained by Bliss, however, some in the media are pushing back on the droughtshaming meme, citing such relevant data as the 20,000 gallons of drinking water the event would have used—a precious amount of water to be sure, but also the same amount of water that evaporates from a single Los Angeles pool every year.

And while those pools are the property of private owners, this event would have taken place in public. Bliss cites Jon Christenson to make the point about the cost of sacrificing events such as Slide the City:

Jon Christensen, Editor of Boomtold KCRW that Slide The City reminded him of Ciclavia's community-building bike interventions. "We should be really careful about being perceived as against fun when we're talking about water conservation," he said. "If that message gets confused, we're in trouble." And, in an ever-hotter L.A., these sorts of questions will continue to be important long after Slide The City is over.

"To live well and pleasantly, we are going to need places to cool off, where we can gather socially and have fun and build community," he said. "Maybe it would be a good idea to lose some of the thousands of private pools instead, and build more public pools."

The event was eventually canceled, despite negotiations to recycle the water in nearby Griffith Park. Adrian Glick Kudler of Curbed LA reports on the final development in the defunct Slide the City proposal.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in CityLab
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