Homeless in a Hostile City - Part 3

Hostile 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.

Pavement sprinklers have been installed by buildings as diverse as the famous Strand book store in New York, a fashion chain in Hamburg and government offices in Guangzhou. They spray the homeless intermittently, soaking them and their possessions.

Photo: St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco faces criticism after

using sprinklers to prevent the homeless from sleeping outside.

The assertion is clear: the public thoroughfare in front of a building, belongs to the building’s occupant, even when it is not being used.

(Continued in Part 4)

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'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.”

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

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