[Tagging] Benches and hostile architecture

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Sun Aug 23 23:20:49 UTC 2020

sent from a phone

> On 23. Aug 2020, at 22:24, Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com> wrote:
> We want to make it clear that lying down or sitting down is not allowed or physical obstructed, right?

I think the focus is on physically obstructed, although this is also not very easy to decide in every case, and it will only tell part of the story. For example the case of a bench which gets later amended with features that prevent lying on them might seem clear, similar to handrails in schools where bumps are added to prevent sliding in the staircases, but what about benches being completely removed (or never installed), it’s equally hostile but not mappable. Or shops who are right away not built in a way that you could sit down on their facade.

Another issue is judging the motivation.

In Rome I have 2 prominent examples coming to mind: Palazzo Farnese, a 16th century building has benches integrated all along its main facade to the square, here in 2011:

now they have fenced off the front of the building:


likely they will tell you it is for security reasons (it is home of the French embassy).

Another example is the back of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, with impressive stairs where people used to sit down, now it is fenced off (actually for many, 12+, years).


here’s a picture of the context:

It’s not always clear which kind of “security” is intended.

Or benches which are right away designed to not let you even sit comfortably, like the Rome bus stops:


(While traditionally there weren’t any benches anyway, at least in the not in the recent past and still many stops are just a pole):  https://www.repubblica.it/2003/e/gallerie/cronaca/divano/esterne061916440610191747_big.jpg

end of several lines:


Cheers Martin 
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