Anti-homeless spikes

Rodney Perry

Poverty is a divisive problem in big cities across the country.  Many cities have seen a rise in their homeless population throughout the last decade. The growing number of homeless has led to the loitering of many public spaces. Many vacant lots have been decorated with furniture and other home appliances. Many homeless use these public and private squares as residential places or somewhere to rest. Others see this as a violation of public law or visual disruption to the city landscape. To combat this, many city officials have begun to place anti-homeless spikes in public places as a deterrent. The spikes are placed in various locations and prevent the homeless from resting in that place. Many other structures like the spikes exist, they are referred to as “defensive architecture”. Many see these structures arbitrary as it does not aim to fix the problem of poverty. In London, spikes caused many citizens to feel intimidated and uncomfortable. London’s mayor called the spikes “ugly, self-defeating & stupid,” and the mayor of Montreal called similar spikes in his own city “unacceptable”. The mixed feelings on this topic has caused a debate on the validity for city officials placing public deterrents and how we can effectively reduce poverty.