World

The rise of hostile architecture

By Katy Wong, CNN

Updated 9:23 PM ET, Wed February 14, 2018
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Hostile architecture is a form of urban design that aims to prevent people from lingering in public spaces. The anti-homeless spikes here, for example, were installed to deter beggars and those sleeping rough. amer ghazzal/Alamy Live News
The armrests on this bench also prevent people from sleeping on it. Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
A rusty garbage bin at the end of this bench makes it an unpleasant environment for those hoping to rest on it. Ruth Siddall
Design firm Veyko created these benches for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's train stations. The wire-based seats are said to be impervious to vandalism and other types of damage -- though they also look hard to sit on. Todd Mason for Halkin Mason Photography
This men's room is illuminated with ultraviolet light, which makes it impossible for heroin addicts to find a vein. However, the uncomfortable lighting doesn't only deter drug addicts and dealers -- it also creates an unpleasant atmosphere for other visitors. Fredrik von Erichsen/dpa/picture-all via AP
Sometimes hostile architecture is subtle. Instead of unwelcoming armrests, this wooden bench is designed with a curved base, to prevent users from lying down on it. Derek Bruff
Photo of a sloped bench design captured by Cara Chellew, a Toronto-based researcher who focuses on the design, regulation and politics of public spaces. She compiles photographs of defensive architecture on her website #defensiveTO. Cara Chellew
Besides benches, hostile architecture can come in other forms -- like this window sill with anti-loitering spikes, which stop people perching on the concrete ledge. Cara Chellew
Metal spikes on the bench are designed to prevent skateboarders. Guy Corbishley/Alamy Live News
They also stop people from using it for long periods of rest. Guy Corbishley/Alamy Live News
Crisis UK, a charity for homeless people, took photos of this hostile architecture outside a casino on Wardour Street, in the capital's busy Soho district. Jeff Hubbard for Crisis UK
The Federal Reserve Bank of Denver, surrounded by fences and spikes. @telecon
Countless stones have been placed outside this car park -- the sharp rocks make it impossible for homeless people to camp here. Tawny Tidwell
Produced by UK firm Factory Furniture, the FLO granite was designed to prevent criminal and antisocial activities. The undulating top makes it awkward to lie on, while the smooth surface means there are no slots or crevices in which to hide drugs. Factory Furniture
Also a Factory Furniture design, the Scroll Seat has been installed across the UK. Its armrests make it impossible to lie down. Factory Furniture
The Serpentine bench's curves deter skaters and rough sleepers alike. Factory Furniture
Perhaps the antithesis of hostile architecture, this solar-powered phone charging bench was created by US firm Soofa. Launched in Boston in 2014, Soofa benches are now found in more than 100 cities. This new technology changes how people spend time in public areas and encourage dwelling. Soofa, Inc