An artist's impression of a 300-mile wall designed to keep Burners from ever returning to San Francisco. Cultivated Wit

A 300-mile wall to exile Burners from the Bay Area is perhaps an idea whose time has come.

A MegaGogo campaign to erect an enormous wall around the Bay Area during Burning Man—and therefore keep Burners out of San Francisco forever—has garnered more than $2 billion in short order. With 24 days left in the campaign, the founders are well on their way to their $7.3 billion goal.

The crowdsourcing effort’s success starts with its sensible appeal. “The week of Burning Man is the only week that the rest of us don’t have to hear about Burning Man,” says the affable host. “But what if that week could last forever.”

At the time of this writing, it’s gained 726,499 backers—equivalent to more than 80 percent of the population of San Francisco. Give me a minute, please, I need to enter in my credit-card information.

San Francisco's increasingly tortured relationship with Burning Man (and vice versa) is well documented. Last August, after all the Burners left the Bay Area for wherever it is this dirt-fest is held, Eater SF published a guide to the “SF Tables Worth Snagging During the Burning Man Exodus.” In a followup, The New York Times reported that Mission residents swear up and down that life gets a little bit easier, once all the #entreburneurs skip town.

(Cultivated Wit)

The 300-mile wall, which will stretch in an arc from Point Reyes to Santa Cruz, would make that vacation permanent. “If this project is about anything, it’s about bringing people together,“ says the host. “Together, to lock other people out.”

The campaign is offering some sweet swag to donors, from “I [Wall] SF” t-shirts (for pledges of $100) to an hour operating a cement mixer (for $500). At press time, 16,775 donors had pledged more than $1 million, which nets them their own quarter-mile stretch of the wall. I think these guys’re gonna need a bigger wall!

(Cultivated Wit)

The wall is an elegant solution to several issues affecting the city. As the campaign notes, with all those Burners gone for good, tolerable residents may finally see some tolerable rents. (Kidding! The Wall of Jericho couldn’t make housing affordable in San Francisco.)

There’s only one problem with this scheme, which is being organized by the comedy group Cultivated Wit: After the wall goes up, and those Burners finally give up on returning to their lives and lofts in the Bay Area, they might not slink back to the gifting economy of the desert. They could move to other cities. Maybe even yours.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A data visualization shows 200 years of immigration to the U.S. represented as a thickening tree trunk.
    Life

    A New Way of Seeing 200 Years of American Immigration

    To depict how waves of immigrants shaped the United States, a team of designers looked to nature as a model.

  2. Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village
    Perspective

    How Low Turnover Fuels New York City’s Affordable Housing Crisis

    American Community Survey data shows that New Yorkers stay in apartments, including rent-regulated ones, for longer than most, leaving little room for newcomers.

  3. A photo of Andrew Field, the owner of Rockaway Taco, looking out from his store in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York.
    Life

    Tacos and Transit: Rate Your City

    From taco-rich San Diego to the tortilla wastelands of Boston, we asked you to grade U.S. cities on two critical metrics: Mexican food and public transportation.

  4. A photo of a man sitting on a bench in East Baltimore.
    Equity

    Why Is It Legal for Landlords to Refuse Section 8 Renters?

    San Jose and Baltimore are considering bills to prevent landlords from rejecting tenants based on whether they are receiving federal housing aid. Why is that necessary?

  5. A photo of a "yellow vest" protester in Paris, where high gas taxes have contributed to a wave of unrest.
    Environment

    France’s Gas Tax Protests Should Be a Warning for California

    A lesson from the “yellow vests” of Paris: Policies that reduce climate emissions at the expense of the economically disadvantaged are unsustainable.