Unpleasant Hostile Design? | Homelessness Growing | Celebrity and The House That Pinterest Built

Unpleasant designs take many shapes, but they share a common goal of exerting some kind of social control in public or in publicly-accessible private spaces. They are intended to target, frustrate and deter people, particularly those who fall within unwanted demographics. READ

Anti-sleeping spikes in storefront window by Kent Williams (CC BY 2.0)


Unpleasantly designed book with sandpaper dust jacket by Unpleasant Design… The idea of “unpleasant” design is at the intersections of design and (literally) structural oppression. Urban areas have been attempting to change human behavior for hundreds of years, and in the modern day resort to all sorts of exclusionary designs. This book is a short chronicle of these “features,” as well as a brief documentation of counter-movements (think “The Yes Men”).
Meanwhile, some guerrilla efforts have been made to fight back against unpleasant designs. Artist Sarah Ross, for instance, created a set of “archisuits” designed to work in and around specific deterrents. In one such suit, pads with gaps let the wearer sleep on segmented benches.
Whether you think a certain form of design is exclusionary but serves a greater good, or believe it is just hostile and offensive, it is important to be aware of the decisions that are being made for you. Designs that are unpleasant to some are put into place to make things more pleasant for others, and that latter category might just include you.
Archisuits for bench sleeping by Sarah Ross

We posted here earlier on racist  Hostile Architecture

With the rise of destructive hurricanes and fires, we’ll be seeing more and more homeless people, through no fault of their own.  And the scourge of homelessness is beginning to gain attention across the USA after seeing how Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s housing.

Homeless People have been noticing hostility for a long time, and until we start seeing what is really happening, we cannot change it… L/T

99% Invisible posts

The main thing to take into account for these designers is how people move — or perhaps, more accurately, stampede — in response to threats. Researchers draw from studies of how people move, observations of real-life tragedies, and computer modeling in order to determine how people behave in crowds: how they get stuck, trampled, or endanger others in their attempts to escape.


Now if you are really wealthy, you can build whatever you like. Like Diane Keaton’s home in LA, CA.
The House that Pinterest Built defines what home and house mean to the celebrated movie star, who is known for her love affair with houses and design. Filled with ideas that reveal a personal yet engaging aesthetic, this volume includes compelling photos from Keaton’s past homes and those she admires, as well as a multitude of details from every corner of those spaces and objects that excite and inspire the house designer and dreamer—dramatic staircases and magical light fixtures, film stills and book covers, pottery and art—drawn from the visual treasure trove known as Pinterest and Keaton’s private collection, as she creates and designs her newest house.
And for $65, you can own her book, which I find INSANE. (She doesn’t have any reviews on Amazon which probably means no one has bought it yet.)
Book Review

“In “The House That Pinterest Built” (Rizzoli, $65, 272 pp.) Diane Keaton provides a privileged peek into her 8,000-square-foot industrial-chic dream home. It’s a sprawling brick structure in west Los Angeles’s Sullivan Canyon boasting the kind of rough-hewed, reclaimed features that proliferate on Pinterest, and Ms. Keaton’s book takes cues from her preferred inspiration engine. Photos of pools, staircases, ladders and chairs that the actress and author pulled from the site and from her own archives ultimately provided blueprints for her home, offering a unique, crowdsourced twist to the closed-door world of celebrity living. ‘Once upon a time, scrap bookers, collage artists, image-driven addicts and appropriators like me were lonely hunters,’ Ms. Keaton wrote in the book’s introduction. ‘Now dare I say billions of people discover, seize and enlarge their reference pool with the variety of beauty allocated from others.’ ”
The New York Times

We could easily fit 6 small families into 8,000 square feet! What is wrong with this picture?

And for $62 you can own this book:
I have no gripe on Ms. Keaton or her books. I don’t put much social value on Hollywood anyway. But for me, I have been on the most poverty-stricken reservations in the USA, and to see how we mistreat Indigenous people, like in Puerto Rico and Pine Ridge, SD, it’s an atrocity in full color. There is no excuse for homelessness and poverty and neglect in 2017.  There really is no excuse. L/T

***WHAT?? Slavery in 2017 –> Sky TV’s Adele Robinson followed a non-profit group as they executed a predawn rescue of a Polish family that had been enslaved by human traffickers in the Midlands, UK. 


  1. I lived in Camden before moving here in 2012, so know something about the issues surrounding the use of public places by drug-dealers. As Camden has a few homeless hostels, rough-sleeping was not so much the problem, more the gathering of undesirables to carry out criminal activities. But rough-sleeping is a huge issue in London overall. Working as an EMT, i watched this start in the late 1970s, and go on to become a massive problem. I would suggest that the numbers are much higher than stated in the RT video too.
    After 2001, I was working for the police for over 11 years, and had to constantly deal with complaints about rough sleepers in doorways, including those who used public thoroughfares as toilets, and some who became aggressive when asked to move, denying access to residents, or the staff of companies.
    No British government in my lifetime has really tried to tackle the problems of rough sleeping and street drinking in London, but for the sake of balance, it is worth noting that I have met scores of people who were offered alternative accommodation, and preferred to remain on the streets. Those spikes and obstructions were appearing all over the city before I left, and people hated them as a rule. They were once erected only on private property, but as we see from your films, they are now everywhere.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Look at those spikes on the window ledge! I visited a (rich) old university friend from university days in New York City a few years back, living in Tribeca. There was an elderly black guy sleeping on the window ledge outside their apartment. I can imagine he was a bit of an embarrassment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In Sarasota, Florida, they ripped out all the park benches because people were sleeping on them. The irony is that, before this, the powers that be and the local businesses got together enacted all kinds of measures to deter street kids, alternative types, and people hanging out downtown. Raising taxes, getting rid of the “depot”–the makeshift outdoor local music venue, subtlety finding ways to stop selling coffee to homeless people and street kids that they claimed were taking up all their table space. They wanted the wealthy. After getting out of my hometown for about a year or two, I came back and went downtown on a Saturday night to find my friends through our grapevine method. Only one lonely girl I used to know was downtown. The irony was that the whole place was like a ghost town (late 90s/early 2000s). And what local businesses that were left were struggling to stay open. But those businesses had their new, wealthy condo owners right downtown with their noise meters so that any of the local businesses were making noise past nine on the weekends they could call the police on their speed dials. One last little aside about those homeless street kids/skateboarders etc. they ran out of downtown? They had this zigzag memorial sculpture/ebnch downtown that everyone used to sit on…including the people from the opera from across the street. One day this travelling kid from out of town had taken one of the slabs from the bench that had been loose forever. Those street kids that everybody hated? They went to where the kid was staying, made him give back the slab, and they returned it to the wall. Those kids said “we don’t want anyone messing with where we like to hang out, it’s our space, too.” And the pride of place in their park, called, informally, Little Five Points” was so evident. If only the city’s powers that be had bothered to talk to any of those kids…but, of course, they wouldn’t dare associate with any of “those people”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find that in the U.S. we are starting to reassure ourselves that we all get what we deserve: therefore a rich person is blessed because they are living “right” and thinking “right” and they become so full of “righteousness” that they believe it is their job to “correct” the rest of us, who by living, thinking, or believing “wrong” deserve their “God’s-enforcer” judgment. Somebody better read up on the French Revolution…

    Liked by 1 person

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