‘Homeless Spikes’ Activists Earn a Global #PRWin for ‘Defensive Architecture’

London's homeless need space...not spikes.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on any single night in the United States (during 2014), one could find any of 578,424 people with nowhere to stay. While many applaud the efforts of municipalities nationwide creating shelters and utilizing local churches to feed the homeless, things aren’t really too different in the United Kingdom.

Numbers may be considerably lower, but the UK government doesn’t seem to have as much compassion for their fellow brethren who fall on hard times. In fact, the word “impaling” has come up in conversation. No, really.

Take a look at the “homeless spikes.” That used to be someone’s home outside of a block of flats on Southwark Bridge Road in London. Now? It’s a torture device for those looking for a place to crash.

As people with a heartbeat would have it, compassion has taken over and is getting international acclaim. A true grassroots campaign led by a group called “Better Than Spikes” created a Tumblr called “Anti Anti-Homeless Spikes” has made the locales more comfortable. What was this…

spikes beforeHas become this…

spikes afterYes, that’s a mattress. However, look at that white block that appears as a headrest. See it? Here is the direct view…

libraryThat’s a public “library” for temporary residents. So why do it, other than thumbing one’s collective nose at Parliament?

“Living in a city, we bumble along from place to place in tightly martialed lines. 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,” the team write on Tumblr.

“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.”

As one would expect in public relations, power (and a nice #PRWin) goes to the people.

[Photograph: Guy Corbishley/Demotix/Corbis; Story: HuffPo UK]