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Reading Summary #1 – Schindler
In Sarah Schindler’s article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment”, Schindler addresses the topic of Exclusion through architecture. The examples she uses are varied to provide various resources to support her claim. Schindler uses a myriad of locations to pull examples from, for example she references MARTA from Atlanta Georgia, as well as going to the 8 mile wall in Detroit, Michigan. The variety of examples of exclusion as just as numerous as the locations of where architectural exclusion occurs. She reference Memphis, Tennessee where in 1974, a roadway was closed for the sole reason to separate a white neighborhood from a black neighborhood.1
In part one of Schindler’s article goes into the theoretical approach to her argument by focusing on how built environments regulate us. Part one uses regulation as the focal point of her argument. She gives the word “regulate” a negative connotation to referring it as a form of constraint. She goes on to say further that “scholars generally agree that architectural decisions will favor some groups and disfavor others.”2 This ties directly into the 20th century, at the heart of the civil rights movement. Schindler alludes to an article written by Lawrence Lessig speaking about a highway that separates two neighborhoods to a point where they would integrate. Instead of focusing on the fact that it is a constraint rather a regulation, he goes on to form an analogy using Paris as one such about having large boulevards to constrain any possible protests. He argues that constraint can be a form of regulation.
In part two, Schindler returns to passages in the introduction to support her argument of how exclusionary architecture is used in practice. The first example she opens up with is the bridges in Long Island, New York. Robert Moses’s plans were to construct low hanging bridges overpasses. They were built low enough to prohibit the access of the 12 foot public buses from fitting under them. This constraint was used to separate the lower class that have to regularly use public transportation from the upper class that can own their own personal vehicles. This gives u another variety of arguments to how that exclusionary architecture was not only used against race, but it could be used against class systems or even gender at times.