Royson James has a great piece in the Toronto Star today critiquing the 2.4-metre-high cedar fences being erected around Toronto police stations. These tall fences make the police look like they are afraid of seige. If the police are afraid what are the rest of us supposed to be feeling? Fences are a subtle but essential element that demarks the boundary between public and private spaces. The height and transparency of fences are signs of openness and public engagement. Tall solid fences are not appropriate along public streets as James points out in his article:
Robert Frost wasn’t talking about our neighbourhood police station when he wrote, “Good fences make good neighbours.” These fences are neither good nor neighbourly.