1. Homelessness can be defined in many ways. For example, if we look at the 2015 “Annual Homeless Assessment Report” published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we see a terminological distinction made between those who do and do not make use of shelter services. The term unsheltered homeless people is defined generally as “people who stay in places not meant for human habitation, such as streets, abandoned buildings, vehicles, or parks.” Sheltered homeless people are instead those who stay in “emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, or safe havens.” Distinctions are also made between those who are temporarily homeless and those who are chronically homeless. The chronically homeless can also be defined in many ways. This report defines the chronically homeless as those “homeless individuals with disabilities who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more or have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years.” See http://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2015-AHAR-Part-1.pdf. Some also use the term homeless to include those without their own residence and who move from place to place, visiting friends and others willing temporarily to put them up. For the purposes of this pamphlet, all of the preceding definitions apply, and more. However, the focus here is on those who spend significant parts of their lives in public spaces such that they may be targeted by antihomeless laws and designs. While the primary unhoused population under consideration here is thus the chronically unsheltered homeless, the comments of this pamphlet apply as well to sheltered homeless people and others, because they too may spend significant portions of daily life in public spaces. In addition, for some, the term homeless has become weighed down with negative connotations, and the term unhoused is preferred. I use both here but mostly use unhoused and refer to the issue itself as the problem of homelessness.
2. Borgmann 2007, 11.
3. Ihde 1999, 47; see also Whyte 2015.
4. In particular, Ihde is the grandfather of a contemporary school of thought called “postphenomenology,” which combines insights from the philosophical traditions of phenomenology and American pragmatism and applies them to issues of technology usage. This pamphlet is a work of postphenomenology. See, e.g., Ihde 2009; Hasse 2015; Rosenberger and Verbeek 2015.
5. Verbeek 2011, 7.
6. Bordo 1997, 181–82.
7. Ihde 1999, 46.
1. In his influential book City of Quartz, Mike Davis (1990, 233) refers to these designs as “bumproof benches.” Here I use the less elegant term antisleep benches. See Rosenberger 2014b.
2. Hayakawa 2006.
3. Oudshoorn and Pinch 2003, 24.
4. Latour 1992.
5. Ibid., 229.
6. Akrich 1992, 208.
7. There are often calls for the development of an activist arm of the field of science and technology studies. Similarly within the field of philosophy in general, and within the philosophy of technology in particular, there are calls for engaged versions of philosophy. I intend for this pamphlet to serve as a contribution to exactly these moves toward engaged philosophy and activist science and technology studies.
8. Rosenberger 2014a.
9. Halliday and Siddique 2014.
10. QMI Agency 2014.
11. Criminology researcher James Petty helpfully questions this narrative, suggesting that outrage over the London spikes does not indicate public support for the unhoused and instead reflects its overall discomfort with being reminded of the problem of homelessness altogether. See Petty 2016.
12. One startling recent example was the new addition of spikes to alcoves along a New York City street just before a highly publicized visit by the pope. It appears that their intention was to clear away homeless people from the pontiff’s potential sight lines. Carlson 2015.
3. Closing Off
1. See, e.g., Savicic and Savic 2013; Lambert 2013; Quinn 2014; Chellew 2016. For collections of images of defensive architecture, see, e.g., the work of Dan Lockton, Nils Norman, and Cara Chellew at https://www.defensiveto.com/, http://architectures.danlockton.co.uk/architectures-of-control-in-the-built-environment/, http://www.dismalgarden.com/archives/defensive_architecture.
2. Examples of institutions accused of using sprinklers to deter unhoused sleepers include St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco and the Strand bookstore in New York City. See Fagen 2015; Goldensohn 2013.
3. Duneier 1999.
4. Ibid., 124.
5. Ibid., 132.
7. See, e.g., Reinan 2014; Lazo 2013.
8. Davis 1990, 234.
1. Some police departments will even develop practices to counter the strategy discussed in the introduction in which unhoused people spend time at bus stops to avoid antiloitering laws; officers monitor the stops and issue citations to anyone who lets too many busses go by.
2. National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty 2014.
3. These issues thus have connections to other projects in STS and the philosophy of technology that attempt to highlight the politics of people who go unseen. See esp. Casper and Moore 2009; Star 1990.
4. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/11/10/federal-judge-strikes-down-worcester-panhandling-ordinances/8hPfcDVNCG2eQxR1D8trjL/story.html, http://www.pressherald.com/2015/09/11/portland-loses-appeal-of-court-ruling-that-allows-panhandling-on-street-medians/, http://www.coloradoindependent.com/155527/court-shoots-down-grand-junction-panhandling-ordinance.
5. Foscarinis 2015.
6. National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty 2014.
7. Haraway 2004, 91.
8. The inability of STS perspectives to account fully for technology’s larger political (and not just social) implications has perhaps been best articulated in Winner (1993).
9. Feenberg 1999, 76. Feenberg does not use the term multistability but instead a conception of technology’s ambivalence. For the specific purposes of the argument of this pamphlet, we can consider the two equivalent.
10. Ibid., 76.
12. Winnipeg Transit 2006, 29; Riverside Transportation Agency 2015, 6.5; Greater Vancouver Transit Authority 2007, 63.
13. The statistics on the gender of homeless people in the United States come from the 2015 HUD report at https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2015-AHAR-Part-1.pdf. The point that U.S. cities report domestic violence as a major cause of homelessness can be found in the annual “Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness” compiled by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. For the 2015 report, see https://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2015/1221-report-hhreport.pdf. The National Network to End Domestic Violence conducts an annual census report. For their archive, see http://nnedv.org/projects/census.html.
14. Durso and Gates 2012.
15. For information on the total U.S. population, see https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045216. For information on the racial makeup of the U.S. homeless population, see http://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/2015-AHAR-Part-1.pdf. As a point of comparison, “Hispanics or Latinos” make up 20 percent of the national homeless population—compared to 17 percent of the total U.S. population. (The Hispanic category in census data is tabulated as an “ethnicity” rather than a “race” and operates independently of racial categories like white and African American. So the Hispanics or Latinos of this group may identify with either of these, and other, racial categories.) White people—including both those who identify as Hispanic and those who do not—make up 49 percent of the national homeless total. This same group makes up 77 percent of the total U.S. population.
16. http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/SOTH2015.pdf; http://bigstory.ap.org/article/8838714511984c00ab8d448bfa188293/hawaii-governor-declares-state-emergency-homelessness.
17. For the percentage of “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone” in the total Hawaiian population, see https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/HI,US/PST045216. For the racial makeup of the homeless population of Hawaii, see https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/reportmanagement/published/CoC_PopSub_State_HI_2015.pdf.
18. Rosenberger 2015.
20. Sewell 2015.
21. Wright and Associated Press 2015.
23. National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty 2014.
24. Sewell 2015.
1. Heidegger 2000, 98. Heidegger aficionados may be dismayed that I do not go into further detail on his technical terminology, for example, referring to the hammer in use as “ready-to-hand” and the broken hammer as “present-to-hand.” But the reason I do not delve more deeply into Heidegger’s philosophy here is that I do not wish to commit the ideas of this pamphlet to his particular metaphysics. Ultimately, Heidegger can be understood to offer a foundational account of the nature of being itself, a distinctive critique of the history of Western metaphysics. Here, instead committed to a postphenomenological framework (see chapter 1, note 4), I am attempting to develop a pragmatic account of human–technology relations. Don Ihde’s example of the multistability of hammers in chapter 1 is a not-too-subtle dig at Heidegger’s allegedly totalizing metaphysical account.
2. Merleau-Ponty 1945, 145.
4. Ihde 1990, 75.
5. Alcoff 2006, 189.
7. Collins 1986, S25–S26.
8. Alcoff 2006, 189.
9. Harding 1995, 342.
11. DiSalvo 2012, 5.
12. Ibid., 115.
6. Opening Up
1. Rosenberger 2017a.
2. New York City Department of Environmental Protection 2011.
3. Fernandez 2010.
4. Washburn 2004; Garcia 2007.
5. Local 2015.
6. Kane 2013.
7. Commendable Closure
1. Pirkis et al. 2015, 999.
2. In a 2013 meta-analysis, Georgina R. Cox and her colleagues summarize their findings as follows: “The strongest evidence for effectiveness comes from studies that have looked at restricting access to means through the installation of barriers at jumping sites and on railway networks. This body of evidence consistently suggests that these measures are associated with a reduction in suicides at these sites because they limit access or make it difficult to perform suicidal acts. In the main, the evidence also suggests that restricting access to means at one site does not drive suicidal individuals to seek alternative locations, thereby shifting the problem elsewhere. There are also indications that reducing suicides by a particular method does not lead to substitution of different methods; instead it may have a positive impact on the overall suicide rate” (10).
3. Anderson 2008; Kreitman 1976.
4. Seiden 1978.
5. Cabanatuan 2014.
6. Goodwin et al. 2015.
7. This point is inspired by the work of cycling advocate and policy researcher Caroline Appleton, from whom I have learned everything I know about bike lane policy.
8. Serna 2014.
1. For examples of work on value-sensitive design, see Brey 2009; JafariNaimi, Nathan, and Hargraves 2015; Wittkower 2016; Simon 2017. In addition to “values,” we could also approach this “technomoral” situation, as Shannon Vallor calls it, through the development of “virtuous” character. See Vallor 2016. Because public space itself can be seen as a rapidly shifting context of technology and policy, the best stable guide for action may be the cultivation of a moral sense of what kind of people we want to be.
2. Rosenberger 2017b; Serwer 2017; Kilgore 2017; Bouie 2017.
3. At the time of this writing, three states in the United States maintain a Homeless Bill of Rights: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Illinois. https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/TOB/S/2013SB-00896-R00-SB.htm; http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE34/34-37.1/INDEX.HTM; http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3517&ChapterID=64.
4. For a helpful primer on housing-first initiatives, see Carrier 2015. For the U.S. federal government’s adoption of this perspective, see https://www.usich.gov/tools-for-action/opening-doors.
5. Glionna 2015.
6. Smith 2016.