Exploring the intersection of public space and homelessness


Episode 16: Mike O'Brien


One of the ways that housing insecurity is arriving in cities is through the growth of people who are turning to vehicular living as an affordable housing arrangement in the urban context. Whether sleeping in recreational vehicles or simply in their own cars, people who have been priced out of traditional housing stock are now turning to the public space of the right of way to find a safe space to sleep. Yet with the growth of this type of housing, municipalities are finding the need to develop new policy tools to address the safety, security and concerns about how people are using this public resource. To discuss this phenomenon, I sat down with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s tenure has seen the issue of vehicular housing or vehicular living grow, and, recognizing the limitations of current policies, Councilmember O’Brien has proposed draft legislation to try a new approach in Seattle.