Temporary shelters should be the preserve of student projects, says Mark Middleton
Last year, I visited our new studio in Los Angeles and stayed downtown. On the first morning I took out my phone to order an Uber and on the screen it looked like I could walk there. With few opportunities to get anywhere on foot I thought I’d take this chance.
As I left, the concierge asked if I needed a car so I told him I intended to walk. Surprised by my reply he asked where I was headed. “Factory Place in the Arts District,” I said. His face dropped. “Sir, you do know you have to go through Skid Row to get there?” I didn’t. “Is it a problem?” I asked. “I just wouldn’t advise walking there: you’ll get robbed for your shoes,” he said, adding that it was dangerous and that I should just get an Uber and I’d see what he meant.
I left downtown in a Prius. We soon slowed to a snail’s pace, rolling down what was a four-lane street with sidewalks on either side, reduced to a single lane by rows of pop-up tents, tarpaulin-sheathed shelters and cardboard structures punctuated only by a few bedraggled inhabitants. It resembled a refugee camp and I was genuinely shocked by the sight.
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