Hello, Best Friends!
Where did you hang out as a teen or young adult?
young lovers meet in
a secret rooftop garden
and bathe in moonlight
Finding Places to Just Be
Here in the United States, we’re losing our public areas. Mostly, the loss of usable parks and public spaces is a side effect of our war on poor people. As more cities criminalize homelessness instead of working to find affordable housing solutions, the places you are allowed to be in public without also being a customer are vanishing.
Park benches are being removed or retrofitted to prevent people from sleeping on them. Law enforcement roams many parks, looking for people committing the heinous crime of sleeping during the day.
It’s worse for teens and young adults. Many malls now ban people under the age of 18 from their premises unless they’re accompanied by a guardian. Arcades, roller rinks, bowling alleys, and even skate parks are being gentrified out of existence or bougiefied into expensive experiences, out of the price range for the working class.
Even state and national parks are harder than ever to enjoy if you’re not a person of means.
We need places to loaf, places where young people can hang out, be loud and obnoxious, and be relatively safe. We all need places where don’t have to be a customer or consumer—places where we can just be.
Where will the artists of tomorrow find creative fuel if there are no public spaces? Instead of weird, innovative books, paintings, and music, we will get capitalist-friendly art—art that fails to inspire or transform.
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The buildings in this comic are part of my effort to make more cityscapes. I have a lot of haiku set in urban and suburban locations, and I need more man-made scenery.
Be the weird you want to see in the world!
Interesting point. I genuinely feel like we’re missing some good third places in society. Not just to hang out and be but also interact with people beyond our immediate circles. At the risk of sounding very boomer: no one talks to each other anymore and guess what? It’s kinda bad.
wow, wow, wow, yes. Back in the day, our family was not really campers. But man, station wagons, vans, regular campers-it was a thing. And even if it wasn't camper ready, you modified it any sort of a way. And everyone went to parks, and it was cool. Now, if you look like a camper or diy selfer-scrutiny. 💯 Jason.