From 1963-1984 the mudflats of Albany, California were used as a landfill for various construction projects. Then the city closed the landfill and two years later declared it a public trust. In 1990's a homeless population moved in and artists led by a team called "Sniff" began to transform the trash into art. Since then, the "Albany Bulb" has been filled with art and people walking their dogs.
The bulb brings up questions of what to do with public space. I feel it's of great benefit to the community to have a public place where anyone can express themselves and share it with the world, especially when doing so reclaims a dump. However, whenever people are given free reign to do what they like, there will inevitably be conflict and ideas expressed that others find offensive. In the picture below, you can see a giant mural created by the original Sniff team that has been painted over by what I see as graffiti. The same freedom that creates such beauty in the bulb is also what destroys it.
There's a fascinating documentary about the homeless population of the bulb that was made about a decade ago called, "Bum's Paradise." The homeless population has decreased considerably in the past few years, but one institution that was created three years ago still thrives: the Bulb Library.
You're free to take whatever book you like--no fees, no due dates, no rules at all.
Jimbow, one of the builders of the library. At night he lays out a mattress and sleeps here. He's also featured in the documentary (he hasn't lived here all ten years; he left for about six of them). Jimbow is a poet whose work, along with other bulb related material can be found at ipoet.com
There are way too many things to document. I've taken a bunch of photos, but there are plenty of sites on the internet that catalog the Bulb. This one includes a blog about the community that uses it.