Homeless in a Hostile City - Part 2

May 19, 2018

 

“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.

 

There is a wider problem, too. These measures do not and cannot distinguish the “vagrant” posterior from others considered more deserving.

 

When we make it impossible for the dispossessed to rest their weary bodies at a bus shelter, we also make it impossible for the elderly, for the infirm, for the pregnant woman who has had a dizzy spell.

 

By making the city less accepting of the human frame, we make it less welcoming to all humans. By making our environment more hostile, we become more hostile within it.

 

(Continued in Part 3)

 

--

 

'Homeless in a Hostile City' is a collection of ten short stories that highlight the social and emotional impact of hostile architecture in urban centres around the world.

 

This May 26th and 27th, the City of Toronto makes an event out of opening its doors to the public. At the same time, the city installs and supports the installation of defensive or hostile architecture designed to shoo people away.

 

There is a dichotomy between DoorsOpenTO and the City's use of defensive architecture.

 

“Making our urban environment hostile breeds hardness and isolation. It makes life a little uglier for all of us.”

 

--

 

Source: 'Homeless in a Hostile City' is based on a February 2015 article in The Guardian.

 

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