The homeless are now considered vermin

by INeedSleep on Décembre 14, 2017 - 8:26pm

This article talks about an architectural phenomenon that is popping up in numerous cities, in this case London. The author starts off by giving their view on these ‘deterrents’ by saying how awful they are. In cities across North America and Europe buildings and other structures have started to be equipped with inch long spikes covering flat surfaces or dividers in the middle of a bench. The author talks about the two opposing views in concern to this problem. Started out with those who think that this new feature is cruel and further gives off the message that homeless people are not to be seen. They go on to say that people they have interviewed thought that the spikes were hauntingly similar to the spikes put in place on the edge of buildings and in tunnels. Their purpose is the same the only difference being that one is for pigeons and the other is for the homeless population. This comparison between the two creates the idea that the homeless population is now considered like pigeons to be vermin.  The author goes on to say that the big businesses and apartment complexes do not want to have people sleeping on their front door because it would affect their image. Which leads to the second point of view discussed by the author inn the article, those who either do not mind the spikes and those who are all for them.  When asked people who lived in the area had no notice of the spikes appearances and could only guess what their purpose was for. Although most guessed right and associated it with deterring the homeless from sleeping in the areas in front of the buildings. Most who did not seem bothered by the spikes had the argument that they did not want someone sleeping in front of their doorstep. Which brings us back to the authors view on things when they talk about how it really shows a meanness in people and lack of humanity. They continue by saying that people do not see past a person being homeless, they do not see the person in front of them or their struggles, which can vary, that lead to their homelessness. When one of the businesses was confront about the spikes they gave the following response; that the spikes were not for that purpose, it was to prevent anti-social behaviour such as smoking and drinking since it can be intimidating to customers.  But this further shows the divide between the impoverished and the really rich. I agree with the author’s view because I find that the whole concept to be pretty cruel. Instead of finding a good way to help them they are treated like pigeons. By doing this it alienates them even more from what is considered ‘normal society’ and could create more animosity from the public if they are allowed to think that treating people this way is acceptable. Which brings the following question; should the spikes be removed and what other solutions should be put in place?



Where Metal Spikes Meet the Homeless: In London "the Destitute are Now Considered Vermin". Newstex, Chatham, 2014, Research Library,