I had never heard of the concept of “Defensive Design” before. When I read this article I could not comprehend why people would go through this much effort, to self destruct their own design work.
The park bench should be able to accommodate anyone who would like to sit outside. When I saw the placement of the armrest in the middle, I could not believe it would be used to deter loiters from sleeping across the bench. I get that it can be a nuance for the general public, but would you prefer the homeless person to then sleep upright?
If parks and public spaces are meant to be open and inclusive to all general public, there shouldn’t be a need to design a “kill-switch” to public designs. The should be measures to deal with socio-economic factors that change our public space atmospheres. We have signs, we have fines, we have by-laws that already deal with some matter to prevent vandalism, loitering, and recklessness.
After visiting the website #DefensiveTO I was baffled by some of the practices used on objects in public spaces. It felt almost like tacking on medieval accents like spikes or studs, on beautiful surfaces.