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April 2022

What you don’t see in the pre-occupancy photos is the behavior that the homeless will bring with them when they move in….

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Behold: the 39-unit Chandler Boulevard Bridge Home Village, designed by Lehrer Architects with the Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering. Each tiny home is 64 square feet, about eight by eight feet, and comes with two beds, a heater, air conditioner, and a charging station for phones and devices. Toilets, showers and laundry available in a service pod at the far end of the village. Looks pretty inviting if you’ve been living out on the street. And certainly the 39 (or 78, considering the twin beds) homeless folks who win a shelter assignment at Chandler Bridge, out of Los Angeles’s estimated 66,000-plus homeless population, will be an instant aristocracy among the homeless. Golf claps for good intentions.

What you don’t see in the pre-occupancy photos is the behavior that the homeless will bring with them when they move in. As it happens, the vast majority of the homeless have other problems besides lacking a place to live, chiefly drug addiction and mental illness. Does Chandler Bridge Home Village become a “shooting gallery” for the druggers? And a mental hospital without staff or treatment? You see, it is well-known that concentrating populations with behavior problems tends to amplify the bad behavior. That’s exactly why the high-rise “project” housing of the 1950s and 60s was so disappointing. Guess we’ll have to stand-by and see how it works out. My bet would be that the place is utterly destroyed by its inhabitants inside of a year.

Below is a look inside a tiny house and then a drone-shot of the village layout. Thanks to Michael Lind for the nomination.

Drone shot of the homeless village. “Facilities” pod to the right


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

24 Responses to “April 2022” Subscribe

  1. tucsonspur April 4, 2022 at 7:28 pm #

    After a month or so, that service pod with toilets, showers and laundry will probably need major plumbing work along with industrial strength decontamination.

    Many prison cells are larger than 8×8 so claustrophobia might be a concern, and those in the two bed units here may be unfortunate enough to have a roommate who not only snores, but who has strong desires to do nasty things with razor blades.

    It’s good that all those fire extinguishers are around and that the place has a dog run. However, in these tight spaces dogs may prove to be man’s worst enemy. Just imagine a little ‘pocket rat’ yelping all night, or some hefty woofer bellowing like the Hound of the Baskervilles.

    There’s a park across the way, and before long visitors to that park will probably be carrying guns of various calibers or at least certain types of cutlery or pepper spray.

    The windows are nice, and some curtains and some flowers here and there and some artwork could help develop the sense that one is finally moving up in the world, although definitely not on up to the East side.

    Five or six hundred billionaires in this country, worth going on three trillion dollars and this homeless problem is still unsolved. No, money alone won’t solve it, it’ll take dedication and desire also, dedication and desire whose presence seems to have an inverse relationship with this nation’s wealth

    It is good to see that some are trying to help with a problem that seems unsolvable. Hopefully this will be the stepping stone for at least some to find a way out of their nightmare. Remember, being homeless means more than just not having a roof over your head. It means the absence of warmth, family, love, and hope.

    ‘Hope of the Valley’:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71xvFsQwLNc

  2. Jo-G April 4, 2022 at 8:57 pm #

    “concentrating populations with behavior problems tends to amplify the bad behavior.’

    “Sickness breeds sickness” “Mental illness is contagious” I met a crazy (when not on his meds) ex homeless guy when he was working his first job in years and living in a small apartment. He didn’t like the homeless shelter because of the bad behavior. It was good for getting a shower and laundry done but it was to him almost not worth having to deal with the other occupants. His main diagnosis of the cause of their obnoxious behavior was “self centeredness”.

    It breaks my heart that when I first arrived in the ROK there were maybe 5 or 6 visible homeless outside the main train station. A few months ago there were hundreds. Some one gave them tents, orange and green backpacking size tents. It looked like there were 2 to a tent. There weren’t enough tents for all of them. With tents the homeless can disperse but they concentrate themselves at the train station. The feeding and other services set up there encourages the congregation but with the tents the government could get them to move to city hall or something. They don’t seem so “self centered”. Many have old brooms and keep their surroundings neat. Most remove their shoes when they sleep and line their shoes up neatly, otrside their tent or beside their cardboard if they don’t have a tent.

    • hilton33 April 5, 2022 at 10:15 am #

      The more you subsidize homelessness, the more homeless you get. I was homeless in the 80s and early 90s. Mostly because of drug addiction and mental health issues. Imagine living underneath a bridge in the middle of a Michigan winter, and thinking that you’re exercising your constitutional right of freedom. While you’re actually living in bondage and denial. It’s a complex problem, that needs more than throwing money at the problem. But that’s all the government knows how to do. The definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It’s time to do something different.

      • Morsel April 25, 2022 at 5:18 am #

        Well writ.

  3. orca April 5, 2022 at 2:50 am #

    How is it they even needed an “architect”? This fact just highlights the massive grift that is the Homeless Industrial Complex. Any of us could replicate this with a T-square and a sharp pencil.

    I’ve long suggested the cheapest, fastest response would be to use those big ol’ Army tents they used in MASH. Hell, Hawkeye lived in one for 12 years. BTW I wonder if there was an ‘architect” employed by the 4077th? We are such a frivolous and un-serious society.

  4. tom clark April 5, 2022 at 10:15 am #

    Hey Orca…an architect’s gotta make a living, right?

    One’s faith in the future of the human race is palpable…

  5. bymitch April 6, 2022 at 7:27 pm #

    I have seen similar detailing in dog pounds.
    This clearly highlights the distain the creators have for the inhabitants.
    In addition full aesthetic appreciation only occurs at 100ft in the air, out of reach for those on the ground, unless they all choose to get around in helicopters.
    The nod to sprinkles doesn’t go unnoticed.
    Down my way we call them ‘hundreds and thousands’, the name implying some exceptional value add.
    I can understand the urge, when you have a triangular site, to recreate a level of excitement, inspired by fairy bread.

  6. CrosstimbersOkie April 6, 2022 at 9:28 pm #

    American Correctional Association standard recommends 6 ft. x 9 ft. So the dope heads & habitual criminals should feel right at home, especially since they can leave any time.

    Concentrating the dope heads and habitual criminals in close proximity will produce more of the same, only without the control and regimentation that a prison provides.

    The law of the jungle will be the controlling regimen, and it won’t be a hot minute until “The Homeless” (I always try to say the sacred words with a tone that communicates the greatest reverence) tear down their new homes and cart them off to the same places they have their tents & shanties now for the building of new and improved hovels.

    It will be so Wonderful!

  7. DanandMary April 7, 2022 at 6:32 am #

    We’re gonna need a bigger dumpster.

  8. Chris at Fernglade Farm April 7, 2022 at 9:12 am #

    Hi Jim,

    It interests me greatly that many building codes appear to have been broken in order to produce these pods. It must mean something.

    Cheers

    Chris

    • Morsel April 25, 2022 at 5:38 am #

      Marijuana was made legal recently in Canada.

  9. fallout11 April 7, 2022 at 3:45 pm #

    These are the kinds of pods the globalists have in mind for us all to live in during the years to come, as their vision of “You will own nothing and you will be….happy” comes closer to fruition.
    Eat the bugs.

  10. Ishabaka April 8, 2022 at 9:57 am #

    Who is going to check for, and remove the corpses each morning?

  11. holdfastspike April 8, 2022 at 12:08 pm #

    oh, don’t leave out the cost. anyone care to guess? i’m thinking 350 thousand per unit sounds about right, however as an old guy i am constantly shocked about the price of housing.

  12. gusgus2022 April 9, 2022 at 4:25 am #

    In the 40s there was a place called the Jalopy Jungle in downtown LA ,bums lived in dead cars …now decades later downtown still has homeless
    In 2005 the city hall lawn had about 40 bums just hanging out the same by Union Station and all asking for money ,and best of all West Adam’s
    Just throw a cart full of clothes in the street ?

    The LA river filled with bums ….and now it’s just overpriced encampments which is nothing new either ,there was a quanset hut camp by Griffith Park in the 40s as well
    Having finally left in 2015 I still wonder how with all the money they collect in tax how for 70 years they still have a problem with homeless

    This City is what the happy motoring culture ends in ,spend 3 hours a day in a car and feel the despair and anger creep into your life .
    Screw LA and screw the Jerks who love it .

  13. AKlein April 16, 2022 at 8:02 am #

    As several have written, “homelessness” doesn’t imply just not having a safe, comfortable place to rest one’s head; it’s much more a symptom of having a poverty of spirit and the hopelessness of having no purpose in life. Maybe some few can be helped by having access to these kinds of shelters, perhaps the industrious who’ve just hit a rough patch in their life’s journey and need a small boost to get back on their feet. But really, these “digs” strike me that they are a rendering of what a middle class architect’s notion of what he would want if he were homeless. This “solution” to homelessness reminds me of the futility of looking for your lost keys at night under the street light, not because that’s where you lost them, but because that’s the only place you can see.

    • Morsel April 25, 2022 at 5:36 am #

      Time to ask the so-called homeless what they might actually want and then act accordingly.

      • Ishabaka April 29, 2022 at 9:03 am #

        They want free fentanyl, free meth, and the police defunded.

  14. Claire Potter April 23, 2022 at 8:54 am #

    Homelessness is a drug problem, not a housing problem. It is also exacerbated by public officials who refuse to enforce our laws and ordinances regarding homelessness, thus attracting even more homeless drug addicts to the city.

    • Morsel April 25, 2022 at 5:34 am #

      That while so-called ‘elites’ continue to play their, ultimately lose-lose, money-games with land and its resources and natural inhabitants.

  15. Morsel April 25, 2022 at 5:21 am #

    Is there a cafe?

  16. Eros April 29, 2022 at 1:45 am #

    Everything about this project is political kabuki theater. It gives the appearance something is being done in an organized and sanitary way. And local media, leaders and liberally inclined residents get a dopamine dose of the warm fuzzies feeling they’ve helped solved a crisis and done a charitable deed for the downtrodden after seeing it on the news or in their Facebook feed. I’m guessing select individuals will be allowed to live in this shelter as is the case for many homeless shelters and accommodations, and of course it’s like trying to put out a raging inferno with a glass of water. It solves nothing. All that really matters is it makes people “feel” good and buys a few votes. I couldn’t help but notice it’s a tad internment camp-like. But at least it’s painted in “fun” 90s pizza parlor style.

  17. tom clark April 30, 2022 at 8:49 pm #

    Eros…you nailed it.

  18. tom clark May 1, 2022 at 9:04 pm #

    Jimbo…it’s May…what gem have you got for us?