Arts & DesignEssaysFeature

Hostile Architecture — Electronic Monitoring

In urban planning, there’s a strategy known as “hostile” or “defensive” architecture, such as the metal spikes built into public ledges to keep people (particularly those who are homeless) from sitting on them. Similarly, a 2013 article in the New York Times described what it called “pocket parks.” After becoming alarmed at the presence of men walking around with GPS monitors around their ankles, residents and city officials of a Los Angeles neighborhood found that the easiest way to drive away sex offenders was to build tiny playgrounds — or rather, plots of land with often no more than a swing set — just enough to invoke a state law that forbids registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park.