The undesirable public: A study of the postmodern cities attempt to curate a public presence

Category : Written

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Imaginechina/REX (1790320a) Rows of concrete spikes Concrete spikes built to stop homeless from sleeping under road bridge, Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, China - 02 Jul 2012 Rows of concrete spikes have been laid beneath a road bridge in Guangzhou city to allegedly discourage homeless people from sleeping there. A 30-meter-long area has been covered with the small spikes, each of which measures about 20cm tall. They are, reportedly, meant to stop people from sleeping rough but this explanation has been denied by the local administrative authority. However, they have not given any further details to explain why the spikes have been installed. CONCRETE SPIKES BUILT STOP HOMELESS FROM SLEEPING UNDER ROAD BRIDGE GUANGZHOU CITY GUANGDONG PROVINCE CHINA 02 JUL 2012 ROWS Not-Personality 13797718

The concept of public space has evolved as cities transition from industrialised modernist spaces to knowledge and finance based postmodern societies. Postmodern societies guarantee an increase in private ownership of public space, public spaces have become less about facilitating community interaction and more focused on fostering an environment of consumption. The public-private space is a curated environment, where ‘undesirables’ are excluded either directly or indirectly through design. The traditional notion of a public space as a reflection of society is degraded, the undesirable elements of society; youth, skateboarders and the homeless are moved on. Through a comprehensive study of the practical techniques used to curate postmodern public-private space rather than detached theories the psychological and physical toll of hostile postmodern design starts to become clear. Through understanding of the strategies that
organizations utilize to exclude members of the public, we are better placed to comment on the culmination of postmodern practices.

Full essay: The undesirable public


No space under the bridge. The Daily Mail. From: (accessed May 23, 2015)