News & Opinion | October 2, 2019 6:00 am

San Francisco Residents Remove Anti-Homeless Boulders

The attempt to keep the homeless at bay backfired for these residents

San Francisco Residents Remove Anti-Homeless Boulders
San Francisco Chronicle

It was a battle of boulders.

Residents of San Francisco’s Clinton Park neighborhood placed two dozen boulders along the sidewalk in an attempt to deter homeless people from inhabiting the area.

According to the Washington Post, the rocks remained for nearly a month before they were removed by San Francisco Public Works crews, but their presence had already spurred controversy and tension within the community.

In the month that the boulders remained, it was a constant back and forth as objectors pushed the rocks into the street; the rocks would then be put back, only to end up in the street again.

For many, the boulders were representative of the city’s approach to the homelessness crisis. “They shine lights — not just to people in San Francisco but to thousands of people in the country — that the housing crisis is a serious problem, if people are fighting over rocks,” Danielle Baskin, a San Francisco artist and self-described “Anti-Rock Agitator,” told the the Washington Post.

Activists consider the boulders to be part of the growing trend of “hostile architecture,” uninhabitable design with the intent of keeping the homeless away. The boulders aren’t the first instance of “anti-homeless” architecture to pop up in the city; planter boxes with spikes have also been implemented throughout the city.

The request to remove the rocks came from the residents who initially put them up, Mohammed Nuru, the San Francisco Public Works Director, told The Washington Post. Residents became worried after receiving “threatening” emails and want the controversy to blow over as they plan what to do next.

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