Find Sick Communities And Try To Fix Them? Wha? Surely Better To Flail And Forget Them?

A skateboarder flies high overhead

No, ‘Flail’ isn’t misspelled. Admittedly ‘Fail’ might do the job, too. But we had in mind a post we wrote three years ago that described a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) experiment. It was an attempt to bully public housing property users by ‘flailing’ them with floodlights1.

The thinking seemed to be something along the lines of ‘turn over a big rock and watch the snakes and lizards scatter from the unexpected light.’

Presume that public housing users are a bunch of degenerate sickos, then big rocks and scuttling snakes may be suitable imagery to a NYCHA problem. “We see you, nasty little people skulking in doorways, and we’re gonna LIGHT YOU UP.”

It seemed at the time there might be other, though perhaps un-American, ways to treat public housing communities. We didn’t have a specific alternative in mind until , three years later, we read the following article about Vilnius, Lithuania.

What, no shifting rocks and scuttling snakes? Actually encouraging people to use public space? Presuming more public space usage to be evidence of success, not failure? Moving temporary incentives on to other communities that need support?

Here’s an entirely different way to celebrate the benefits of community space, not lighting it up as a festering hellhole. Read more in TheMAYOR: Vilnius’ mobile courtyards revive a community and then move on


  1. Try: 200 Car Headlights Shining In Your Bedroom Window: Blessing? Or Curse?