Protest movements in cities are often thought of as being generally directed towards corrupt leaders, social injustice, the treatment of the homeless, and other timely issues. Rarely does one think about an artistic statement that calls into question the nature of gated communities, but that is exactly the idea behind the latest action taken by the group known as “Heavy Trash”. The coalition consists of anonymous architects, designers, and urban planners who have previously set up large-scale billboards touting a fictional subway line and a 2,000-pound staircase that provided access to a park that city officials had hoped to keep homeless persons out of. In its latest maneuver, the coalition set up mock twelve-foot guard towers around three tony Los Angeles neighborhoods in order to protest the continued development of gated communities. As one member of the coalition commented, “Walling off one section of the city from another section is not the right solution”. Local residents seemed a bit puzzled by the appearance of the structure, and one resident remarked that “I’m not sure I agree with putting stuff down on somebody else’s property.”The first link leads to a news story from the online version of CNN International this Wednesday about the recent action taken by the Heavy Trash coalition. The second link will take visitors to the Heavy Trash website, where they may learn about the group's various activities. The third link leads to an buyer's international guide to gated communities. The fourth link leads to the homepage of a rather intriguing conference on the gated community phenomenon, complete with a number of helpful working papers that document the gated community experience around the world. The fifth link leads to another compelling paper on the phenomenon of the gated community within the United Kingdom, authored by Rowan Atkinson and John Flint. The sixth link leads to the fine photographic archive developed by the Los Angeles Public Library where visitors can peruse historic photographs of such things as the neighborhoods around the contemporary gated communities.


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