"It’s the hottest night of the summer, and on Philadelphia’s Kensington Avenue, underneath the elevated train tracks at Somerset Street, mills a crowd of addicts nearly 100 strong, the biggest ever to flock to this well-known drug corner. The city’s unrelenting heat wave has left them worse for wear, their exposed skin coated in a glaze of sweat, their tank tops and shorts smeared with street grime. These self-described “low-bottom dope fiends” haven’t bathed recently, and many have been “running and gunning” around the clock for days, selling needles and prescription pills, or prostituting on the Avenue to hustle up enough money for another bag of heroin.
“Ever since the strangler,” addict Will Sims says, “we do everything out in the open and the cops are cool with it.” Several other addicts out here concur: The reason for all the bustle is that Kensington Avenue has become a drug-bust-free zone."
On my Twitter page, Market Urbanism posted the following: Actually, it's worse than if they'd Hamsterdamized it – at least then there'd be social services workers, patrol cops & less violence. It drew my attention to the article mentioned above. Market Urbanism is a carved-out niche in the design world to introduce free-market economics to urbanists and vice versa. A good site for public health nicks to get a feel for the real estate developer perspective on land use/built environment. I assumed the post was design related. Instead, what I read was good opportunity to deploy several public health interventions.
Does anyone know if the Philly public health department is on the scene?