The problem

Dorothy said it best whilst clashing those ionic red heels in The Wizard Of Oz, "there's no place like home". To many people, this is a welcomed reminder of their family, food, warmth and- of course- wifi. Whilst it is true and there truly is no place like home, to many people home is not as comforting as it is for others. Unfortunately to a lot of people home is a different place every single night; under a dangerous bridge, on a public bench or on the doorstep of a high street shop. Apparently, the latter is too good for the homeless in London.

It is easy to forget just how privileged we are in this Society because we are made to feel like we never have enough. We have more than we need and are all guilty of giving into consumer culture. More, more, more! We are so caught in the cycle that we sometimes do not even give a second thought to those who do not even have the bare essentials. Imagine, if you would, not knowing when your next meal is or knowing that you will not have a warm and safe place to sleep. Now, as if that is not bad enough, imagine seeing these aggressive and uncomfortable concrete spikes as you walk up to your temporary 'home' for the night. These spikes not only look like they could tear you a new one, they're reflective of a society that basically says " you can't sit with us".

War on the streets

These homelessness spikes are the concrete manifestation of a broken society. How is there enough money to deploy these unimaginative iron maiden inspired traps, but not enough to help some of the people that they were designed to repel? It seems that as a society we are more interested in simply hiding out problems instead of actually addressing and fixing the problem.

A problem that has been created as a result of a broken and elitist system that benefits very few. Rather than treating the cause, we settle for fixing the symptoms, expecting for that to be enough of a cure and are disgusted by those who still need treatment.

Is it really necessary to weaponise the ground? We have actually given the floor concrete bullets to fight against people- all be it the wrong kind of people.

What I would like to know is who was the interpreter who said: " listen, I don't know how to tell you this but the floor outside the shop just told me that it doesn't feel safe at night. It wants protection". Who is this concrete whisperer? They have some explaining to do. It is such a violation. Unfortunately it is not just at the high street stores that you can find these- what I like to call- "middle finger" spikes; they can also be found beneath bridges and other public spaces.

The ugly truth

Larger issues of inequality and poverty have been pushed to the back of the agenda. Instead of addressing the real and eminent issues they are merely hidden and denied. Rather than owning up to the mess that has been created the dirt is being swept underneath the rug.

We cannot hide from the ugly truth, no matter how long we cover our eyes, shake our heads and chant "la la la" as if it were a spiritual mantra.

For one reason or another people find themselves on the streets, alone and desperate. It does not help when your city or town adopt overtly aggressive methods of telling you that your are not wanted. These " get out of here" spikes have the politically name "defensive architecture". Sounds quite military, does it not? An almost military solution to a much larger societal problem. That makes sense, right?