Anti-Homeless Spikes: "Sleeping Rough Opened my Eyes to the City's Barbed Cruelty"
"Crisis and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have warned
that homelessness in London is rising significantly faster than the
nationwide average, and faster than official estimates. And yet, we
don’t see as many people sleeping rough as in previous economic
downturns. Have our cities become better at hiding poverty, or have we
become more adept at not seeing it?
...The phenomenon of “defensive” or “disciplinary” architecture, as it is known, remains pervasive.
From ubiquitous protrusions on window ledges to bus-shelter seats that
pivot forward, from water sprinklers and loud muzak to hard tubular
rests, from metal park benches with solid dividers to forests of pointed
cement bollards under bridges, urban spaces are aggressively rejecting
soft, human bodies.
'When you’re designed against, you know it,' says Ocean Howell, who teaches architectural history at the University of Oregon, speaking about anti-skateboarding designs.
“\'Other people might not see it, but you will. The message is clear: you
are not a member of the public, at least not of the public that is
welcome here.' The same is true of all defensive architecture. The
psychological effect is devastating.
...Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is
not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process.
It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved,
funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It
reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations,
especially in retail districts. It is a symptom of the clash of private
and public, of necessity and property."