Thursday, February 22, 2007

Trapped Outside Fences

What is a fence? Does it make one safe? Does it appear unfriendly or uninviting to those who live next to you?

There are many kinds of fences, those meant to keep people out, those meant to box you in, and those meant to mark space boundaries, just to name some of the possible uses for a fence. For many they stand as an unfriendly symbol, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The east side of Austin has a lot of problems. After being dumped on for many years it stands as the last bastion for affordable property in town. with many that migrate through the area, criminals, transients and workers, some parts haven’t always been the safest parts of town.

While walking around I set out to find what the fences around people’s yards meant to an outsider who wasn’t used to seeing them.

What I found was that to these people, the fences were simply a way of life, they weren’t uninviting, they just marked what was one person’s from what wasn’t. They gave children a place to play and while providing some feeling of safety, most didn’t need them for that purpose.

I even met a few people who rarely locked their doors.

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