Defensive or hostile architecture acts as the airplane curtain that separates economy from business and business from first class, protecting those further forward from the envious eyes of those behind.
It keeps poverty unseen and sanitizes our shopping centres, concealing any guilt for over-consuming.
It speaks volumes about our collective attitude to poverty in general and homelessness in particular.
It is the aggregated, concrete, spiked
expression of a lack of generosity of spirit.
Ironically, it doesn’t even achieve its basic goal of making us feel safer.
There is no way of locking others out
that doesn’t also lock us in.
Making our urban environment hostile breeds hardness and isolation. It makes life a little uglier for all of us.
Will drawing attention to the issue of defensive architecture really make a difference? We'd like to think so. You might not be able to change architecture but you can change attitudes.
It begins with understanding. Understanding the negative impact of defensive architecture. And understanding the unfortunate situation of those most affected; the homeless in the a hostile city.
The city might be hostile.
But the citizens don't have to be.
That's a choice.
Source: 'Homeless in a Hostile City' is based on a February 2015 article in The Guardian.