Pink lights that emphasize blemishes, curvy benches that deter sleepers, classical music that annoys teenagers, these are not simply bad designs, they are intentionally hostile designs aimed to manipulate certain behaviors in public.
A bench, for example, offers a place to rest between bus stops, but it could also be used for sleeping. If an urban planner wishes to deter snoozing in public spaces, placing multiple arm rests can make laying down very uncomfortable. This “hostile” design thereby restricted the use of such public goods to its “designated” function.
According to a most up-to-date version of the book "Unpleasant Design," these intentional modifications can be powerful at altering our behavior, but in doing so, they may unfairly target certain social demographics. Diving deeper, these deterrents also send a demoralizing message – while tackling the symptom of problem such as homelessness, hostile designs offer nothing in solving societal issues at large.
How do you evaluate the goals of these designs? Do you think they do a public service to the community? Or do they frustrate and upset users across the spectrum?