Humans have been pissing on the street since there was a street to piss on, and San Francisco residents have long been accustomed to sidestepping yellow puddles and practicing strategic breathing exercises to escape the pungent scent of public urine. But a new project, dubbed the 'PProject', is betting on a new and improved kind of public urinal.
Last week, a PProject urinal was installed on Ellis Street as part of a short-term pilot to assess whether potential public pissers will use (and not abuse) the service. The urinal is the result of the Tenderloin Public Toilet Project, an initiative by Hyphae Design Lab. The ecological engineering firm designed the urinal to transform pee through a nutrient-rich plant irrigation system by way of a charcoal filter and a product called zeolite, which suppresses ammonia. The urinal will double as a planter for bamboo, which is a lovely idea in theory.
But the real question is, will people use it? It likely depends on ease of use and availability, but unfortunately, there's nothing easier and more available than simply pissing wherever and whenever the mood strikes you. If this project succeeds, it will truly be a urine-soaked blessing from the gods.