"Turning the homeless into political tools for an agenda dehumanises them"

In this week's comments update, readers are divided over a tool that allows homeless people to earn money by posing controversial questions to passersby.

Beg the question: Japanese designer Tomo Kihara's tool for "street debating" that enables homeless people earn money without begging provoked a debate among readers around attitudes towards the issue.

"We as a community need to be engaged in bridging our similarities, not engaged in fuelling divide. Turning the homeless into political tools for an agenda dehumanises them as people," pointed out The Liberty Disciple.

"This is absolutely disgusting. It is decentralising empathy in favour of a more hollow interaction," agreed X.

HeywoodFloyd was undeterred by the negative arguments surrounding the project: "Realistic thought-provoking, easily capable of being implemented either conceptually or literally. Excellent work."

Nicholas took a more balanced approach: "We can all agree that there are fierce complexities regarding homelessness and how to eradicate it. That being said, I commend this designer for investigating and conceiving a design that tries to help with the daily struggles homeless people face."

Kihara also responded to commenters himself: "Street debating is not intended to fuel divides, but to provide a space for people with differences to get together and discuss their differences."

For one reader, the design had set the benchmark for 2018.

What do you make of the Street Debater? Join the discussion ›

Walkabout: commenters could find little to fault with ZHA's proposed network of pedestrian routes across London, although some were quick to point out Schumacher's call for the privatisation of public spaces.

John Anderson was enthusiastic about the idea: "Fantastic! Reduce air pollution, noise pollution and make people exercise more."

"It is most pleasant to walk through London, there is much richness to the fabric of the city," added Simone de Gale.

"This sounds really great but what is the catch? I mean we all know Patrik Schumacher's recent talk about 'solving' the housing crisis in London by privatising everything," wrote a suspicious  Zea Newland.

Jim Dory also felt there might be an ulterior motive: "I guess, based on Patrick's latest posts, the public should pay an entrance fee to use the pedestrian routes."

"Bold moves are needed to address increasingly problematic issues, I hope the mayor gets behind this proposal and helps bring it to fruition," fired back John McCart.

For this reader, London was just the beginning.

Read the comments on this story ›

Gas money: Wilkinson Eyre and Jonathan Tuckey's transformation of King's Cross gasholders into luxury flats seemed to visually please commenters this week, but the cost did not.

James Beckett hoped this project was the first of many: "Let's hope more of these renovation and re-use projects come forward. Stunning."

"Incredible care is taken in this renovation: exterior and interior, an absolute winner in every respect," praised Apsco Radiales.

"I like the retention of the gasholder structure. But £810,000 for a studio, who's going to live there?" asked Dan Green.

"Including Crunchy Nut in the render screams 'luxurious but attainable', aside from this the project is rather disappointing," joked Mr Pits.

"I start to wonder to what extent architects have a responsibility for creating affordable homes. We are supposed to follow a program proposed by and agreed with the client," pondered Leo.

This reader had other financial concerns.

Read the comments on this story ›

Touch wood: readers were far from convinced by Sumitomo Forestry's plans for the world's tallest timber tower, a 350-metre skyscraper proposed for Tokyo.

"Yea, it's such a great thing that all that timber is used, instead of recyclable steel. How many forests will be decimated for that tower?" questioned Concerned Citizen.

Traian Musatescu was also looking for answers: "There is another aspect here. This is not pure wood, it's glued wood. How many tons of highly toxic glue will this tower contain?"

But Richard Wineberg was happy to block out the hate: "Great design. Love to go see it someday."

This reader had a question for the architectural illustrators.

Read the comments on this story ›