In an earlier post I'd made reference to idiots who step off of crowded escalators and just stop. Apparently I'm not alone in this observation: As part of a workshop at Geneva's recent Lift Conference, participants even brainstormed the above solution to keep escalator-stoppers moving.
It was called the Unpleasant Design Workshop and it was held by Gordan Savicic and Selena Savic, who run the amusing Unpleasant Design blog. While the workshop was intended to quickly brainstorm "a map of behaviours and social groups unpleasant design could discriminate against," their website does that and more, cataloging photographs of urban phenomena vis-à-vis design and highlighting fanciful design proposals intended to curb rude, idiotic or antisocial behavior.
We've all seen anti-skating measures added to "street furniture," like this:
But you may not have seen anti-sticker traffic poles like this one in South Korea:
Or a plane cleverly placed at an angle to prevent people from peeing in a particular corner. Hit this thing with a stream of pee, and it simply angles the pee onto your own feet:
And you've probably never conceived of adding an extra-complicated outside lock to a bathroom door, purely to keep drunks out of it at night:
With that last idea, of course, you'd then wind up with drunk people relieving themselves outside the bathroom. Unpleasant design has its limitations—design a bench so people can't sleep on it, and eventually someone will do this:
Anyways if you run out of things to read on their site, you can buy Savicic and Savic's book, Unpleasant Design (linked to on their site).
The "Unpleasant Design" book is a collection of different research approaches to a phenomenon experienced by all of us. Unpleasant design is a global fashion with many examples to be found across cities worldwide, manifested in the form of "silent agents" that take care of behaviour in public space, without the explicit presence of authorities. Photographs, essays and case studies of unpleasant urban spaces, urban furniture and communication strategies reveal this pervasive phenomenon.
They'd probably have a field day with the whole airplane seating thing.