Jessica Annan

Jessica Annan (she/her)
Masters Student
Department of Sociology
University of Victoria

Current Research Project:

The Uncomfortable City

Hostile architecture is one medium through which social exclusion is enacted in the common areas of our cities. By limiting who is allowed to occupy space, and how they may do so, it functions to define the contours of inclusion in urban space. All of which is predicated on one’s engagement with the zones of consumerism that have overtaken the cities commons. As a result, those without the means to partake are pushed aside, despite the inner-cities historical relationships with the poor, unhoused, and marginalized.

By exploring hostile architecture in Calgary, this thesis addresses a specific question: How do people with lived experience of homelessness understand hostile architecture? Through Community-Based Participatory Research and Photovoice, this question is addressed through collaboration with community members with lived experience of homelessness. One key theoretical concept grounds the research. Henri Lefebvre’s right to the city is used as a starting point in discussing what an equitable city might look like. The purpose of this study is to explore how lived experiences and knowledge of discriminatory architecture can inform a sociological analysis of hostile architecture. By doing this, the lived experiences and knowledge held by those who have dealt with homelessness can sensitize the public, and inform regional and national policymakers about this exclusionary mechanism. The research is currently underway and expected to be completed by summer 2021.

Jessica is also the creator and producer of Calgary’s first BIPOC magazine called Star Roots ( Ultimately, Jessica’s work aims to democratize knowledge and create inclusive and accessible cities for all. As Jessica states, “this is just the beginning!”

Jessica’s advice to other graduate students:

Make sure you pick a topic you really care about.


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