Defensive Architecture Creates Unlivable Cities

"Anti-homeless" spikes installed in Manchester. Image © Christopher Thomond via the Guardian

To many, the harsh turns the modern city has taken are not apparent. We see benches and bus stops that masquerade as shelters, but Guardian writer Alex Andreou’s sudden plunge into homelessness opened his eyes to the hostile realities of these and other structures. In “Anti-Homeless spikes: ‘Sleeping rough opened my eyes to the city’s barbed cruelty’,” he sheds some light on misconceptions about homelessness and explains the unfortunate trend of designing unlivable architecture to deter those affected.

From pavement sprinklers to concrete sidewalk spikes, the modern city is littered with defensive techniques, discouraging the homeless from habitation and encouraging instead an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to make spaces more comfortable for others. However Andreou argues that the dehumanizing effects of these harsh gestures affect everyone, acting as physical manifestations of society’s intolerance and making public spaces that bit less welcoming for us all – homeless or not. Read the full article, here.

Tiny-House Villages: Safe Havens for the Homeless

Quixote Village. Image © Leah Nash for BuzzFeed

As the need for smart housing solutions rises, so does the appeal of tiny-house villages, not just as shelter for the homeless, but as a possible look to the future of the housing sector. The new article, Are Tiny-House Villages The Solution To Homelessness? by Tim Murphy, takes a closer look into the positive and negative aspects of these controversial communities, as well as their social and political ramifications so far. Through interviews with residents of several tiny-house villages, Murphy investigates the current impacts they have had on the homeless populations within major American cities, and questions how the lifestyle will evolve in the future. Read the full article, here.

“Project Gregory” Hopes to Help Solve the World’s Homelessness Problem with Kickstarter Campaign

The problem of homelessness challenges city governments all over the world, one which, despite many attempts by governments to curb the problems that lead to homelessness, does not seem to have a simple solution. What’s more, with many countries still deep in the global economic crises, many governments and non-profits struggle to provide an adequate amount of temporary shelter for the homeless population.

But what if we could make temporary accommodation for the homeless pay for itself? And what if we could provide it by leveraging structures that would be built anyway? This is exactly the approach taken by Michal Polacek, Matej Nedorolik and Martin Lee Keniz of Project Gregory, whose design for small roadside accommodation built into an advertising billboard is currently on Kickstarter.

Design for Homeless Shelter in San Luis Obispo Awarded

© & garcia architecture + design

Gwynne Pugh Urban Design Studio, in conjunction with garcia architecture + designwas recently selected from a pool of sixteen firms to design the new CAPSLO Homeless Services Center located in San Luis Obispo, California. Since 1997, there have been two shelters providing services to the homeless community. However, when the county offered a site, it was determined that a consolidated center would be able to operate much more efficiently, 24 hours a day. More details after the break.