Jul 27, 2023 - Development

Urbanist decries prohibited activities in San Diego's public spaces

Signs discouraging lots of activities near Santa Fe Depot

Signs outlining disallowed behavior near downtown's Santa Fe Depot. Photos: Courtesy of Charles Marohn

A visitor to downtown's Santa Fe Depot on Wednesday was struck by the hostility of the public space, tweeting photos of eight signs outlining activities you can't do.

"A culture that needs such signs to experience decent social behavior is indicative of a culture that responds to social friction with signs," wrote Charles Marohn. "There were more signs than people. So sad."

Why it matters: Welcoming spaces are integral to downtown environments.

  • Marohn is a prominent urbanist author, and the founder and president of Strong Towns, a nonprofit that advocates for resilient urban planning that creates inviting cities.

What they're saying: "If you have anti-social behavior, have someone be there to wave and say 'Hi,'" Marohn suggested. "The thing that encourages positive social behavior more than anything is exhibiting positive social behavior."

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