This project is an artistic response to designs that control social behavior in public, semi-private and semi-public spaces, commonly known as deterrent designs. It attempts to raise awareness of these designs by decoding top-down processes in order to reread the city and to initiate a dialogue with the general public on the design of our urban environments, raising questions concerning the inclusion and exclusion of particular groups in society and design for comfort or discomfort.
Although the project only weaves together examples from Vienna, deterrent designs are an accumulating worldwide urban phenomena. They act as “silent agents” to control social conduct in the form of urban furniture, urban spaces and communication strategies. These designs are essentially ‘house rules’ that are enforced and materialized in an urban setting. They address particular target groups and act as social-political borders with the ability to alter a public space and influence the behaviors of the public using it.
Deterrent designs act as “silent agents” to control social conduct.
As movement into our cities proliferate and demands on housing, affordability and safety escalates, we understand that a certain level of control is needed to cohabitate harmoniously. However where do we draw the line between excessive control and individual freedom? The design of our urban spaces can only ever accommodate one target group that being the common citizen with the sacrifice of marginalised groups. Is it ever possible to design our cities for all? Have deterrent designs become the epitome of the loss of freedom in public spaces.
- Spring 2016
- Gianna Lui
- Karolína Plášková