This Guardian article, “‘Urinoir’ furore: Paris residents peeved at eco-friendly urinals” is a few months old but I thought it was still worth posting because it touches on several topics that we don’t come across every day. The gist of the article is that Paris has been struggling with a public urination problem and their solution has been met with a fair amount of controversy. The city of Paris has decided to introduce open-air public urinals in areas where they’ve had the most trouble. The hope is that this will incent men to use the urinal instead of the street when they need to relieve themselves. However, there has been a great deal of public backlash to the idea. Residents object to the urinals being placed close to historic buildings and some have even claimed they are discriminatory since they are only designed for men.
I thought this was interesting for a few reasons. First, it deals with a public relations issue from a public policy decision rather than a corporate entity. Students don’t often think about cities and states having to do marketing just as corporations do. Second, it brings up the issue of controversy and having to manage a controversial product roll-out. Finally, it’s an interesting solution to a problem but probably not the only possible solution. If you’re covering the product development process, this can be a great topic for discussion.