Cold, Cold Heart

Housing is the unrealized crisis throughout the United States, and the pricing is so extreme in some areas that people may make six figures and still either have several roommates by necessity or be homeless. Some nonprofits have stepped up their involvement, and even some celebrities are working to aid the homeless. Unfortunately, being without a home creates a myriad of problems, the least of which include hygiene and the inability to store one’s belongings. One particular hardship is the inability to sleep, and unfortunately more architects have been working diligently to create structures which deter homeless people from one of the few comforts: the chance to rest.

Mental illness is a difficult issue on the best of days, and many outreach groups are working to address it. When one is homeless, insurance, psychotherapy, and medication are impossibilities unless veteran status is considered or professionals are willing to donate their time. Studies have shown that sleep is a significant factor of mental health, and when one is unable to rest, that can contribute to violence and further health deterioration. Allowing homeless people to sleep is one small resource that gives them a modicum of humanity and boosts community wellness.

Bonds are contentious regardless of the focus, and infrastructure bonds have increased over time due to the constant focus of urban renewal. Citizens are already uncertain about the future of their communities, but marginalized constituents are unceasingly vigilant about how the built environment changes. Tearing up neutral structures in favor of hostile architecture costs more than allowing people the opportunity to sleep, especially during the work day when many people are inside or otherwise occupied. Hours of labor could be saved by reducing the amount of architecture that keeps people from enjoying the area.

Above all else, hostile architecture is uncomfortable and sends the message that no one should be in a location for more than a few minutes. Friends are separated by bars, bus stops become more intolerable, and the overwhelming directive is that one deserves to be in public doing one of two things: earning money or spending it. The cities with multiple street artists and aspiring writers destroying their talent by making the creative terrain impossible to navigate. No one will ever be able to make completely inviting fabrications, but cities need to encourage the sharing of public space lest communities become more afraid due to lack of communal experiences.


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