How Cities Use Design to Drive Homeless People Away
It is laughable that people are protesting these great ideas.
Check it out:
Earlier this month, someone tweeted a picture of a series of metal spikes built into the ground outside a London apartment building.
The spikes were intended to discourage homeless people from sleeping in the area, and their presence sparked a public outcry. London’s mayor called the spikes “ugly, self defeating & stupid,” and the mayor of Montreal called similar spikes in his own city “unacceptable!!!!” Protesters poured concrete over a set of spikes outside of a Tesco supermarket. Then, after a petition was signed by nearly 130,000 people, the spikes were removed from the London apartment building, the Tesco, and downtown Montreal.
An example of an everyday technology that’s used to forbid certain activities is “skateboard deterrents,” that is, those little studs added to handrails and ledges. These devices, sometimes also called “skatestoppers” or “pig ears,” prevent skateboarders from performing sliding—or “grinding”—tricks across horizontal edges. A small skateboard deterrence industry has developed, with vendors with names like “stopagrind.com” and “grindtoahault.com.” But in an echo of the protesters vandalizing the anti-homeless spikes, skateboarders find ways to combat or adapt to these measures. For example, there’s an abundance of YouTube videos in which tools are used to pop off the studs, one by one. The deterrent vendors respond with more tamper resistant alternatives.
Anti homeless floor studs. So much for community spirit 🙁 pic.twitter.com/Yz8VF7Ryid
— Ethical Pioneer (@ethicalpioneer) June 6, 2014