Hostile Design

When I came across this on social media, I shared it immediately, but ever since I have felt like my comment belongs here, in a place I like to imagine to be a source of meaningful information for art educators. (What?! Let me have my delusions!)

Pay and Sit Bench
Pay and Sit Bench

Reading this article about unpleasant design, I was struck with what an excellent topic this is for the art & design classroom. Teenagers, especially, would surely have some strong feelings about the nature of unpleasant design and hostile architecture. These no doubt differing feelings and opinions open the door for critical discussion and artmaking. If an art teacher were to challenge students to create an artwork in response, the possibilities — if given this much freedom — could range from new ideas for hostile design (perhaps from a different perspective), “friendly” design, designs to counter hostile design, or works that speak out against or in favor of hostile design. (There are examples of most of these in the article.) What a great way to engage students with real-world issues and offer them the opportunity to express their own ideas!


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