Urban planners in London are determined to make life even more difficult for the homeless by placing spikes on areas commonly used for sleeping and sitting like windowsills, stairs, and the sides of sidewalks closest to buildings. But a group of activists is fighting back by transforming these hostile areas into cozy beds.
A group called Space, Not Spikes, has transformed a spot in front of a former nightclub with a bed, cushions and a small library. The library’s books have a common theme, and includes such titles as Lisa McKenzie’s Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain and Andrew Harris’ Art and Gentrification: Pursuing the Urban Pastoral in Hoxton, London.
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“Living in a city, we bumble along from place to place in tightly martialed lines,” the group says. “We’re told where we can walk, where we can sit, where we are welcome but only if we spend money. Or have it. It makes us neurotic and engenders a deep sense of ‘otherness’ in anyone who chooses to or simply cannot buy in to what currently passes for society and leisure. Anti-homeless spikes are part of that invention. Nothing says ‘keep out’ to a person more than rows of sharpened buttplugs laid out to stop people from enjoying or using public space.”
The group says they’re targeting poor doors and architecture designed to keep the ‘right’ people in and the ‘wrong’ people out” next. Whether you rent, own, have money, or don’t, the streets belong to the people, the groups says.
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