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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Homeless city guide

May 18 2009
We present an updated version of the symbols used by those on the street a century ago Last issue we published a homeless code, devised by Emily Read, which is an updated version of the symbols used by those on the street a century ago. These are designed to allow readers to leave hints and messages for others on the street, and hopefully be of help. Asking Miss Read about the inspiration behind her Homeless City Guide, she told The Pavement: "The streetscape of London can be seen as an accumulation of cultural signs and symbols, being reproduced to allow the city to be read as a network of institutions and businesses. The code mutates this idea by producing a series of urban signs and symbols to mark the noncommercial elements of the city. "This sign language is a means of exposing the hidden potentials of the city and making these more accessible to the homeless. The use of this code will create a new, informal avenue of communication." It might sound arty and high-minded, but can be a helpful tool on the streets, as the image opposite shows: a 'safe for sleeping' sign is discreetly visible at a sleeping site in Shoreditch.
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