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Presentation: 6:45

Poster attached as supplemental file below


Anti-homeless architecture is a term used to describe designs that are put in place to prevent individuals from sitting or lying somewhere. These designs are referred to as “anti-homeless” because they disproportionately affect those who are unhoused and looking for places in public to rest. This architecture can make it more difficult for unhoused persons to get the rest and sleep that is vital to their physical, mental, and emotional health.

In order to understand what Philadelphians know about and think of anti-homeless architecture, intercept interviews were conducted in the Center City area of Philadelphia, PA. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and open coded. At that point, a codebook was created, and the data was analyzed.

Of the 25 people interviewed, 8 were unfamiliar with anti-homeless architecture. Once given the definition of the architecture and shown examples, 22 of the 25 interviewees had negative feelings about the use of this architecture, while 3 had mixed feelings.

The codebook informed the creation of an explanatory model. The model is an adaptation of the social ecological model and organizes the codes into 4 levels: individual, interpersonal, community, and city government/policy. These categories represent how participants felt the architecture was perceived at different levels.

While only some people were initially familiar with anti-homeless architecture, once they were informed, most participants had negative feelings about the use of the architecture. This illustrates a need for greater awareness about the use of these designs in Philadelphia.