Hostile architecture – how dare you be homeless?

This is an old post once posted elsewhere: brought it here when Twitter user @olebjarkoy took a pic of spikes outside a hotel in Norway, tagged it with . The hotel replied, on Twitter asking him to remove the hostile tag, as it was negative. Does not take a genius to figure how that went down on Twitter… as a Twitter user pointed out, to this hotel hostile architecture is fine, hostile Twitter posts not.

–Architecture: usually talked about as something potentially beautiful, useful. Better roads, buildings, access. Sometimes it goes wrong, and we get a good laugh: like the story of the architect who insisted a loading ramp for a shopping centre was more than spacious enough: he had tested the drawings with his son’s toy lorry. Some modern architecture, such as park benches can be lauded for their “inventive” shapes. Perhaps comfortable to sit on, for ten minutes.

But then there is hostile architecture. And I do not only mean the spikes embedded in concrete to avoid homeless. If you start looking around, you might find that there are a good deal of architecture designed to keep you moving. And particularly, keep the homeless away.

What a nice idea. Make sure we do not see homeless people, make sure people – anyone – are not comfortable stopping, when we want them moving (and preferably shopping). There are other ways too. “Mosquitoes” – that extremely high pitched noise only young people can hear. Playing music that are annoying for anyone, or particular groups. Or simply making every surface that would normally be flat, a sharp angle.

..and then there is Vancouver, making benches into tiny shelters.. I doff my hat:

More on this:

The Guardian

Vancouver Observer


The Atlantic

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