Sunk Costs for Spite
The city where I work just spent the last two weeks clearing out a few patches of land in between the four-lane main thoroughfare in and out of town. This is a space thick with trees and vegetation, but is otherwise unusable given how narrow it is and its location in between two main roads. There’s just not enough room to put anything there while also enabling access to and from the main roads. Nevertheless, this patch of land was teeming with bulldozers and men pruning the trees. Again, for two weeks.
This space has been useful to the homeless. On my commute home, I’d often catch a glimpse of a tent or two in these pockets of woods, and frankly, I’d just as often think, that’s probably where I’d go if I had no home. It’s near all kinds of useful things, including a bus stop on the university-subsidized city route. But best of all, it’s kind of hidden. The vegetation was thick enough that if you played your cards right, you could blend in there, going unseen and undisturbed for a good while. But not anymore.
I wonder, how much has this project cost the city? How much did it cost to let some people make it their home? As far as I can tell, the city gains nothing from this other than some timber and the — what? — peace of mind that no one lives there? Did they really sink who-knows-how-much into just being spiteful?
So now that people can’t camp there, where will they go? They won’t just disappear.