Thu 3 Oct 2019 01.00 EDT Last modified on Thu 3 Oct 2019 01.02 EDT
They appeared seemingly from out of thin air last month: two dozen knee-high boulders, at first glance, unremarkable, placed with remarkable precision along a sidewalk in a quiet alley in San Francisco.
Within days, they became a flashpoint for a city in the midst of a homeless crisis.
Residents of the Clinton Park alley, located to the north of San Francisco’s trendy Mission District neighborhood, funded the rock installation to deter loitering after what they described as a year of flagrant drug-dealing and unpredictable behavior. Housing advocates and other civically minded critics were quick to call the boulders out as anti-homeless architecture.
“Boulders don’t stop people from drug dealing,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness. “But they do stop people from sleeping.”