Urban Planning 101: Small businesses put their trash bags on the street

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Back Alley, Washington & 1st Ave.

There are some logical reasons for trash lying on the streets. In an ideal world, all trash would be placed in an out of the way location where we didn’t have to see it. It stinks, it is unsightly, it is unhygienic, and it reminds us of our disproportional consumption. However, there are some advantages to having trash on the street. It is, in fact, an important prop on the theater of the street. The shop owner takes it out, often several bags of it, to the edge of the sidewalk or the back alleys. Over the course of the day homeless people rummage through it for bottles, cans, or other potential reusable items. By the next day the bags are taken by trash collection. The streetscape is activated an involved in the processes of the everyday. To many who live here, trash is an eyesore. To others, it is a transparent example of the functions of the people that live there.

What is it to you?

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