Artists launch campaign to tackle scourge of anti-homeless spikes in London

'Regardless of whether you own, rent or even have a home, the streets are ours'

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The Independent Online

London artists have launched a fightback against the “homeless spikes” which have been appearing outside shops around the city.

An art collective known as Space, Not Spikes, have started creating makeshift beds on top of the spikes in Shoreditch, east London.

In a statement on their website they explain: “Living in a city, we bumble along from place to place in tightly martialed lines.

“We’re told where we can walk, where we can sit, where we are welcome but only if we spend money. Or have it. It makes us neurotic and engenders a deep sense of ‘otherness’ in anyone who chooses to or simply cannot buy in to what currently passes for society and leisure.

“Space, Not Spikes came from the anger of public/private space inequity. We chose the Curtain Road location because of its resonance with artists. Round the corner and down the road were the studios and spaces used by artists who couldn’t afford anywhere else to live and work.”

“Regardless of whether you own, rent or even have a home, the streets are ours.”


Leah Borromeo, a member of the “loose collective of friends and colleagues” who put it together, told the Independent the beds were designed to open a dialogue about "hostile architecture" and ensure architects and landlords cannot impose them on public and private property.

She said: “These devices say ‘we don't want you here because you're not rich enough’. There's too much of that in the world as it is - and in a time where anyone could end up in dire straits at any time, these are downright aggressive.

“We should be addressing the causes of poverty, not shoo off those who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances.”


Last year Tesco was forced to remove one-inch homeless spikes from its Regent Street store after protests.

They insisted the spikes were designed to discourage anti-social behaviour but Left Unity, which lead the calls for their removal said: "We don't want to live in a society where public space is covered in spikes. Homeless people are not pigeons."