Homeless In A Hostile City

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

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.

“Making our urban environment hostile

breeds hardness and isolation.

It makes life a little uglier for all of us.”

To follow is the first of 10 tales - short stories that highlight the social and emotional impact of hostile architecture in urban centres around the world.

Homeless in a Hostile City - Part 1

"Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city's barbed cruelty."

From protrusions on ledges to metal park benches with solid dividers, from water sprinklers to loud muzak, urban spaces are aggressively rejecting soft, human bodies.

We see these measures all the time within our urban environments, from Toronto or Tokyo, but we fail to process their true intent.

"I hardly noticed them before I became homeless in 2009."

An economic crisis, a death in the family, a sudden breakup and an even more sudden breakdown were all it took to go from a six-figure income to sleeping rough in the space of a year.

It was only then that I started scanning my surroundings with the distinct purpose of finding shelter and the city’s barbed cruelty became clear."

(Continued in Part 2)


This is your Toronto. How would you define the various spaces? Hostile? Defensive? Or even Offensive?


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

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