“Exclusionary Design”, also known as “Hostile Architecture”, are the names given to the relatively modern concept of “an urban-design strategy that uses elements of the built environment to purposefully guide or restrict behaviour”. Specifically, it targets the homeless and the young.
Ever see a concrete railing that has little metal studs all through it to stop kids skating down it? That’s hostile architecture. Ever wondered why more and more park benches are turning into weird and uncomfortable shapes, full of armrests and unnatural angles? That’s because those benches have been specifically designed to stop the homeless from sleeping on them, or to keep consumers moving in a place that’s designed to take their money, not let them rest.
It’s a subtle but also incredibly grim part of modern life, so obsessed as it is with the control of spaces that are so often by nature public (train stations, parks). And they’re the focus of this virtual exhibition that’s available to download and experience by Louis Brooks, called Monuments to Guilt.
“Take a first-person wander through Monuments to Guilt, a short exhibition exploring exclusionary design”, Brooks writes of the exhibition. “Acquaint yourself with the core principles of this harmful practice, re-evaluate the objects you see every day and let guilt sit with you, for just a little while.”
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Monuments to Guilt—built using Unreal Engine and which only takes “a few minutes” (player dependent!) to walk through—is a 500mb download on itch.io, and you can grab it here.
Note that we’ve actually covered Brooks’ work before; he was the man behind the excellent Walk Cycles site, which broke down famous video game character’s walking animations to their bare, rotoscoped bones, letting us “focus on nothing but the shuffling of shoulders and the placement of one foot after the other”.