Hostile Architecture - Carnegie West Library

Signs of Gentrification

Hostile Architecture - Carnegie West Library

Cleveland, Ohio 44115, United States

Created By: Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless


Hostile architecture, sometimes referred to as “anti-homeless architecture,” is an urban-design strategy that's sole purpose is to prevent or restrict certain behaviors, often targeting unhoused people. At the Carnegie West Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, we see benches with multiple arm rests that act as seat dividers. These dividers are designed to prevent people from lying down and sleeping, forcing those who use the bench to sit upright. These benches were put in place some 20 years ago, serving as a prime example of hostile architecture. However, hostile architecture is on the rise in the last decade as Cleveland becomes more and more gentrified, including the use of spikes, boulders, and even loud speakers blasting jarring music, to discourage people from being in the area for a prolonged amount of time.

Another thing you’ll notice, looking around this intersection, are patrons of nearby bars and restaurants who are permitted to drink in public. Unhoused people, on the other hand, if they are reported for openly drinking in this park, are often ticketed or arrested. This can lead to jail time, preventing people from making advancements in their housing plans and prolonging their homelessness.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Signs of Gentrification


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