San Francisco’s No. 1 Problem

The ecology-conscious city (having recently encouraged routine composting of dinner leftovers) is considering environment-friendly public urinals like the PPlanter created by engineer Brent Bucknum. Users urinate into a ceramic basin and flush the waste with run-off hand-washing water into a bed of bamboo plants. Bucknum claims minimal maintenance and an odor-free experience but, on the other hand, only a user’s midsection area is blocked from public view — a concession necessitated by San Francisco’s sour experience with lockable public toilets, which shielded sex acts and crime. A less-elaborate structure — the open-air, similarly privacy-challenging “pPod” — is being readied for deployment in the city’s Dolores Park.