Anti-Homeless Architecture and its Presence in North Carolina

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When the term “anti-homeless architecture,” is said, what comes to one’s mind might be positive. Maybe, the city has installed shelters or areas for homeless people to combat it, hence the word anti. 

However, the term is about something more sinister. Anti-homeless architecture is meant to deter homeless people and restrict their access to places they would otherwise dwell at.

To better understand anti-homeless architecture in North Carolina specifically, the first thing a person needs to know is why it exists. Also referred to as “hostile” architecture, it mainly began in New York, as this was one of the first places to urbanize.

 A New York architect named Robert Moses is generally seen as the first to utilize this tactic. He built bridges with low stone ceilings to Long Island Southern State Parkway, to keep buses from passing through in the 1900s. Only people wealthy enough to own a car could access this area. 

In present days, homeless architecture is everywhere, especially in urban areas. The main reason for this is to deter homeless people from sleeping, camping, lingering, or loitering in public places. It’s hard to see the humane reason for this. 

In North Carolina, homelessness is seen as an issue, the state is ranked the 18th worst in the country when it comes to homelessness. 

When walking around Brier Creek, a common place for Leesville Road High School students to hang out, the problem is clear. 

“Every time I go to Brier Creek there is always someone at the intersection or on the sidewalk with a sign, usually they are people who are homeless,” said Skyler Richards, junior. 

A known structure of anti-homeless architecture is railings on benches, this is used as a means to prevent people, more specifically homeless people, from sleeping on the benches. In Brier Creek, however, there is an abundance of benches without this design. 

North Carolina is generally divided on its anti-homeless architecture rules and as stated earlier these structures appear more in urban areas so it makes sense as to why Brier Creek does not have any. In Charlotte, a more urban area of NC, there are more examples of this architecture. In Boone, NC, the town council placed a ban on anti-homeless architecture.

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