Exploring the intersection of public space and homelessness

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Outreach as Exclusion

When he turned to me and asked, “how about this: you read the questions to me,” that was the moment when I realized that it wasn’t that understanding the questions was hard, but that reading itself was the barrier.

I had been invited to help the local street newspapers’ vendors—people experiencing homelessness or extreme poverty—fill out online surveys that the local neighborhood business improvement association were using to soliciting feedback about redesigning four parks in the neighborhood.

Viewing this survey through their eyes, it was hard not to watch myself making the same mistakes in survey instruments that I’d designed. Some quick lessons that this experience left for me include:

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