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Australian cities are not alone in playing uneasy host to people sleeping rough or experiencing other kinds of homelessness. Indeed, it would be rare to find a city where there are not people sleeping out without a permanent home, somewhere.
Which is why three groups of just-do-it types in Cape Town, Los Angeles and Melbourne have created some high-profile, street-level responses to the clothing, shelter and empowerment needs of the homeless, using the well-established language and signifiers of ‘pop-up’ retail and exhibition spaces.
These ‘meanwhile’ spaces — which have previously been occupied by the ‘flat white economy’, characterised by small, niche bars and smaller, nicher cafes — are now being put at the service of those experiencing ‘primary homelessness’, who might otherwise find themselves asked to move on.