Anti-homeless architecture divides the city

Another angle of the anti-homeless benches with white handles splitting the bench up

Anti-homeless architecture was put in place to try and stop anti-social behaviour, as well as to try and stop individuals using the architecture e.g. for sleeping.

This is mainly seen on benches and walls throughout the United Kingdom.

A bench in Leeds with silver handles breaking the bench up
This is an anti-homeless bench in Leeds which shows ‘handles’ blocking individuals from laying down.

According to Shelter there are 271,000 homeless people in the UK alone, with 2,101 of those people being in West Yorkshire.

It is common for most people to walk past unhoused individuals laying down on the street during the day, but most people don’t know where the individuals go at night. It comes to question where they do sleep if they are unable to use certain areas due to the architecture.

One resident in Leeds when asked about the benches said, “it’s appalling really, the government don’t do enough to help those in need, then purposely restrict them from having a better night sleep.”

While another resident said, “I do understand it, I guess it ruins the city when you see people sleeping where people want to sit.”

Even though temporary accommodation is available to help the homelessness, Shelter have reported that 2,400 people are still sleeping rough with many individuals questioning if the architecture was worth building.

Another angle of the anti-homeless benches with white handles splitting the bench up
Feelings around the benches are mixed with the general public


For the first workshop task, we were asked to go to Leeds and capture photographs of a story. We were then asked to write an article alongside this. I initially struggled with this due to lacking creative confidence.
Once I went into the city I noticed anti-homeless architecture, I decided to take images of his architecture and write my story about this.
Looking back now I recognise minimal effort was put into this task due to lacking confidence. If I had more trust in myself I would have found another story that allowed for better images, for example, a busker on the street. I could have taken images of them singing or playing a musical instrument and then followed up with an interview of their story.
My biggest takeaway from this workshop task is to have confidence in my ability to be a good journalist, I know how to conduct interviews and approach people so I should have led with that, instead of putting too much pressure on myself to create good quality images so early in the game. I also believe I could have picked a better story to use, which would have helped produce better visual images.