If we collectively believed that tents were “beautiful”, anti-homeless architecture would not exist. – The Observer
We find cars, skyscrapers and bridges appealing, so why not tents?
Anti-homeless architecture, also known as “hostile” architecture, is implemented in many cities to create an undesirable environment for people who have no safe option but to rest in public spaces. According to Karl Persson of Fine Licht, “hostile” architecture is also known as “defensive” architecture.
According to Karl Persson of Fine Licht at Etikk i Praksis: Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics, “This type of architecture is called ‘defensive’ or ‘hostile’ architecture and includes benches that cannot be slept on, spikes in the ground that cannot be stood on, and pieces of metal that impede the ability to skateboard.” More than anything, these architectural designs have led to human rights issues, especially in the public eye.
In a capitalist society, we are born to make money. Whether for ourselves or for greedy corporations, our personal value is directly linked to our bank accounts.
The homeless are seen as a burden in our country, as they seem to have less capital, and reside on land that does not belong to them, which is ironic. Much like small houses, living in vans, and trying to survive in nature “just for fun”, gentrification is a major reason for the stigma of homelessness.
According to Willy Staley at New York Timesgentrification has moved from a housing crisis to a lifestyle crisis.
“The root of gentrification, ‘gentry’, can refer either to those of less than aristocratic birth or to those who profit from landed property; either to the wealthy in general, or to annuitant class in particular,” Staley says.
Those in the “annuitant” class profit from owning real estate or investments. Examples of groups that fall into this classification are landlords, shareholders, and even vacation rental owners.
The appropriation of the culture of homelessness has led to the gentrification of the way of life. There is so much emphasis in our society on trends, many people don’t understand or realize that valuing the struggles of poor people also silences said struggles. The choice to live in a van is not the same as having live in a van.
According to Kaitlin Jock at street roots“People facing homelessness in many cities across the United States often feel safer spending the night in open public space than in shelters, but design policy forces people to reassess where they will spend the night. night.”
There are virtually no homeless friendly spaces and glorifying homeless struggles only leads to new struggles in the homeless community. We see this in the “inclusive architecture” of Philadelphia’s Love Park (Jock, 2019).
As Kaitlin Jock states in her article, “inclusive” architecture is not inclusive at all. The city of Philadelphia implemented a modern art approach in its use of hostile architecture.
The Philadelphia Investigator voices Philadelphians having trouble with the city misleading the public about the real reason for the Love Park renovations. For example, the new benches have armrests spaced so that no one can comfortably lie down and rest on the benches.
Philadelphia taxpayers paid $26 million for the Love Park renovations, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Many cities, including Seattle, San Francisco and New York, have also implemented hostile or defensive architecture, according to Kaitlin Jock.
Not only do these alterations to public spaces seem like an economic waste, but a more effective solution to the homelessness crisis would be to fund programs for the homeless.
While the mind shift regarding the attractiveness of tents, and materialistic concepts in general, is a temporary solution to some of the struggles the homeless population faces, it is still worth considering in the eyes of our society.