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Artists got fed up with these 'anti-homeless spikes.' So they made them a bit more ... comfy.

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

Photo courtesy of CC BY-ND, Immo Klink and Marco Godoy

Spikes line the concrete to prevent sleeping.


These are called "anti-homeless spikes." They're about as friendly as they sound.

As you may have guessed, they're intended to deter people who are homeless from sitting or sleeping on that concrete step. And yeah, they're pretty awful.

The spikes are a prime example of how cities design spaces to keep homeless people away.


Not all concrete steps have spikes on them, but outdoor seating in cities like Montreal and Tokyo have been sneakily designed to prevent people from resting too comfortably for too long.

This guy sawing through a bench was part of a 2006 protest in Toulouse, France, where public seating intentionally included armrests to prevent people from lying down.

Of course, these designs do nothing to fight the cause or problem of homelessness. They're just a way of saying to homeless people, "Go somewhere else. We don't want to look at you,"basically.

One particular set of spikes was outside a former night club in London. And a local group got sick of staring at them.

Leah Borromeo is part of the art collective "Space, Not Spikes" — a group that's fed up with what she describes as "hostile architecture."

"Spikes do nothing more than shoo the realities of poverty and inequality away from your backyard — so you don't have to see it or confront what you can do to make things more equal," Borromeo told Upworthy. "And that is really selfish."

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

charity, social consciousness, artist

A bed covers up spikes on the concrete.

assets.rebelmouse.io

The move by Space, Not Spikes has caused quite a stir in London and around the world. The simple but impactful idea even garnered support from music artist Ellie Goulding.

"That was amazing, wasn't it?" Borromeo said of Goulding's shout-out on Instagram.

books, philanthropy, capitalism

Artist's puppy books and home comforts.

assets.rebelmouse.io

"[The project has] definitely touched a nerve and I think it is because, as a whole, humans will still look out for each other," Borromeo told Upworthy. "Capitalism and greed conditions us to look out for ourselves and negate the welfare of others, but ultimately, I think we're actually really kind."

"We need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."
anti-homeless laws, legislation, panhandling

A message to offer support in contrast with current anti-homeless laws.

assets.rebelmouse.io

These spikes may be in London, but the U.S. definitely has its fair share of anti-homeless sentiment, too.

Spikes are pretty obvious — they're a visual reminder of a problem many cities are trying to ignore. But what we can't see on the street is the rise of anti-homeless laws that have cropped up from sea to shining sea.

Legislation that targets homeless people — like bans on panhandling and prohibiting people from sleeping in cars — has increased significantly in recent years.

For instance, a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty that analyzed 187 American cities found that there's been a 43% hike in citywide bans on sitting or lying down in certain spaces since 2011.

Thankfully, groups like "Space, Not Spikes" are out there changing hearts and minds. But they need our help.

The group created a video to complement its work and Borromeo's hoping its positive underlying message will motivate people to do better.

"[The world] won't always be happy-clappy because positive social change needs constructive conflict and debate," she explained. "But we need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."

Check out their video below:

This article originally appeared on 07.24.15

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The airplane graveyard that 3 families call home is the subject of a stunning photo series.

From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.

This article originally appeared on 09.18.15


What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?


Decommissioned planes are often stripped and sold for parts, with the remains finding a new home in what is sometimes referred to as an "airplane boneyard" or "graveyard." Around the world, these graveyards exist; they're made up of large, empty lots and tons of scrap metal.


Photojournalist Taylor Weidman recently stopped by a graveyard in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the city's Ramkhamhaeng neighborhood sits a lot peppered with parts from jets and commercial liners. What's most interesting, however, aren't the planes, but rather the people who live among the wreckage.

Life in the graveyard is about as bare-bones as it gets.

The three families living in the lot seem to get by with little more than the shelter created by the hull of a 747, mats, and makeshift curtains. For money, several collect recycling, and as the International Business Times reports, "they occasionally supplement their income by charging tourists and photographers 100 Baht (about £1.80 or $2.77) to look around their homes."

Weidman's photos shine a light on the luxuries we so often take for granted in life; namely, the ability to travel.

Seeing vehicles once used to jet people around the world for business, pleasure, and everything in between used in a much more fundamental way — as the basic shelters needed for survival — is its own form of forced perspective. It also highlights the creativity of those living in the lot; being able to transform airplanes into places to call home is no small feat.

Most of all, Weidman's photos tell a story about the importance of empathy.

The families in the Ramkhamhaeng lot are human, just like you and me. Like all of us, they're doing their best to survive.

This stunning collection of photos brings just a brief glimpse of what it's like to step into their shoes; something we should all strive to do more often.





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Things a black kid is often taught not to do that his white friends can are heartbreaking.

This is what it's like to be raised as a black child. "The talk" is slightly different than most people get.

Clint Smith, an amazing educator and writer, spoke at TED's annual conference about what it's like to be raised as a black child.

He shared "the talk" that black kids all across America hear from their parents:


All GIFs via TED2015.

As a white kid, growing up, I never got a talk like this from my parents. No one ever told me I couldn't pretend to shoot guns. No one ever told me to be extra careful around the police. I was able to just be a kid.

For Clint and for other kids like him, "just being a kid" isn't that easy. This kind of warning isn't an overreaction from overprotective parents.

"With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old."

A 2014 study found that black boys are perceived as older and more threatening than they really are.

There's actual science indicating that black boys as young as 10 are perceived to be 4.5 years older than they are.

As co-author of the study Dr. Phillip Goff stated, "Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent."

Co-author Dr. Matthew Jackson added, “With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old."

This suspicion of black children doesn't end when they grow up.

I spoke with Clint over email and asked him for examples of things that kids like me grew up taking for granted that he couldn't, and how that translated into adulthood.

"I can only speak for myself," he told me, "but just within the past week: I've been followed around in a store in the very neighborhood where I live, it's been implied to me that I only got into graduate school because of affirmative action, and I've been passed by taxi cab after taxi cab just trying to get home from work."

"It's the small things, the sort of daily reality of being made constantly aware of your otherness, that exacts trauma and exhaustion on people of color on an ongoing basis," he said.

People with "black-sounding" names are 50% less likely to be called into job interviews.

A University of Chicago study found that having a "black-sounding" name meant a person received 50% fewer calls to be interviewed — with the exact same résumé.

They concluded that having a white name looks like the equivalent of about eight more years of experience to a prospective employer.

"It's the small things, the sort of daily reality of being made constantly aware of your otherness, that exacts trauma and exhaustion on people of color on an ongoing basis."

And black people are far more at risk for being pulled over and/or arrested.

In Boston, black people made up 63.3% of police stops while being only 24.4% of the population. And here's the kicker: 97% of the stops didn't involve a seizure or arrest.

According to a recent piece over at Slate (emphasis mine), "if you compare the murder rate among police officers with the murder rate in several American cities, you find that it is far safer to be a NYPD officer than an average black man in Baltimore or St. Louis."

With numbers like that — and believe me, there are a ton more — black parents have to have a talk with their kids that the rest of us don't.

But Clint refuses to accept that the way things are is the way things need to stay.

There's an easy way to help move this conversation in a productive direction: by talking about it. By letting people know that bias is real and we have to be aware of it if we're gonna fix it.

Making the world safe and just for everyone involves getting stories like Clint's out there. The more that others realize the injustices, pain, and unique lived experiences of those around them, the more equipped we all are to address them.

Imagine a world where black parents don't have to give that talk to their kids.

That's the world I want to live in. How about you?


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This adorable cartoon explains privilege in the most nonconfrontational way possible

We can learn a lot from a snail and a caterpillar. We might even make the world a cooler place while we're at it.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

An animated cartoon offers some perspective on the subject of privilege.

I have no idea what it's like to be a snail. Or a caterpillar. Or *you*.

And you have no idea what it's like to be me.

Funny how that works, huh?



Do you have struggles?

I definitely do. We all do, in one way or another. Big, petty, annoying, unfair — the struggles in life *are* real.

You could be:

gay

transgender

living with a disability

a different religion

a different race

wealthy

not wealthy

a snail (?)

[insert fact about your life here]

The bottom line: You are you. Not someone else.

It can be hard to see a different perspective or understand what someone else's life is like because you walk in your shoes — not theirs. And because of that, it makes it that much easier to assume you know what's going on with them.

But if you take time to listen and learn...

And imagine what it's like to be in their position...

It'll help you understand your privilege, and it'll show others some serious respect. I'm working on it myself, and I'm pretty sure if we all try it, we'll be way more accepting and the best humans we can be.

What's not to like about that?

Watch the video linked just below: