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Hostile Design in the Built Environment

Transcript for Stop #8: 401 Congress Ave | Modern Market

KAITLIN: We’re here at Modern Market, the last stop on the tour. 


ASHLEY: Should we go inside and buy some tortilla chips?


KAITLIN: Because the grackles won’t steal them if we eat the chips outside?


ASHLEY: Exactly!


KAITLIN: Well, I guess we could … since the store sign is covered with the pigeon spikes to keep the birds away. 


ASHLEY: Pigeon spikes … chip protectors. Same thing.


KAITLIN: Well, aside from the fact that you can enjoy a bag of chips to end your tour with us, we wanted to share a hostile design example that doesn’t target humans, but rather wildlife that is seen as hindering our ability to enjoy a public space. Not only do grackles have a voracious appetite for tortilla chips, but they and their pigeon friends can cover a place in excrement. And since they have yet to learn how to use a public restroom, no amount of Portland Loos will help address that issue.


ASHLEY: Well put. Our hope is that this tour helped you think in new ways about how environmental and urban design impacts the way different groups of people are able to exist within a public space. And whether you’re an architect or a graphic designer, hopefully you gained a new perspective on how to think about solutions with inclusivity in mind. 


KAITLIN: Thanks for taking our tour and enjoy the rest of your Austin Design Week experience. 

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