Built Environment Analysis Draft 1

The issue of homelessness is by far the most global issue. Not a single country lacks those who are not fortunate enough to have shelter. However, something that differs by country and even by state, in the case of America, is how they treat these people. Of course, living in public space is going to have a significant impact on these people. For example, if a parade were to be held in the city, then the route would be roped off and the homeless on the street would be forced to leave. This can cause those that are homeless into finding other suitable locations, creating overfilled locations and can be seen as an issue. Displacing the homeless can cause them to be forced to locations that are inhospitable and can cause them to find difficulty in finding food and can even cause them to starve, among other issues. Some cities are taking measures to combat this though.

For example, in Seattle a new train station is being built. The Judkins Station has already been fully funded and is now waiting for approval from government officials. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately from a different perspective, the officials are concerned for what will become of the homeless population. Train stations are very loud and pose a health risk for people living too close to them, and this train station would be placed in an underpass occupied by many homeless people. The concern isn’t necessarily with where the homeless will go, but instead a concern on how to keep the homeless out of the areas of harmful noise.

The way companies keep the homeless out of their spaces are quite interesting. For example, a bench may be slightly tilted so that it cannot be laid down on, or a ledge high enough to sit on may have small spheres put on it so that the homeless can’t sleep there. Another example are benches that have an armrest in the middle, splitting the bench in two, which makes it impossible to lie down on the bench. In the case of the Seattle train station, architects are recommending that boulders be placed on the slant that most homeless people sleep on in order to prevent them from resting there. While not the most malicious form of homeless deterrent, it is most definitely a design that can be seen as deliberate and will be hard to justify.

Another case of homeless being forced out from places they are used to living in comes from Hawaii. A fence is being constructed, and the builders are forcing the homeless to leave. This is questionable, as the construction of a fence isn’t necessarily detrimental to an area and construction should take about a week. In a similar situation in Hawaii, a fence was constructed with the rationale of protecting against weathering, but the real reason may be a bit more malicious. Ever since the fence has been built, homeless people have had difficulty crossing the fence which, in turn, keeps them from the camps they have lived in for years, essentially removing them from years of progress and what they know. Despite all the bad it is doing, the city is taking small steps to try and remedy the situation by offering shuttles to homeless shelters. This shows how the city is not completely unresponsive to the loss experienced by the homeless and is indeed aware of the negative impact of the construction.

The fact that the homeless are excluded from the built environment has a negative impact for all people. (talk about bus stops and how the homeless aren’t the only ones affected)

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