Reading Summary #1: Sarah Schindler – “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment”
In my readings, I felt awakened to the ideas and perception of the built environment that Sarah Schindler expressed through her research. Although, it is merely a theory, her case, does hold validity. Human nature, has naturally always been forced to separate or gain leverage, higher position, or better self-worth than the next person. In my summary, I would suggest that Sarah Schindler is merely trying to open the eyes of the people that do not realize that there are subliminal messages that we are forced to subconsciously obey on a daily basis. These messages can be formed in the structure of a city from something as large as highway mapping or something as simple as a long and windy road to a hidden gated community. The way things are designed and where they are located in the city directly affect the type of people that are attracted to those areas. This is also visible in the construction of public transport and the areas assessable by these modes of transport. These deliberate and intelligently structured forms of creating distance is what has always shaped the lower class from the higher class. Now, in more present time, we are starting to see an emergence of a more noticeable middle class. This is an exciting time, in my eyes, because it gives a unique perspective on the built environment from a set of eyes that has experienced life from opposite ends of the spectrum.
The ability of lawmakers and architects to create diversity from bridges, walls, dead-end streets, etc. is most clearly portrayed in Article II – Architectural Exclusion: Practice. In section A, Schindler cites Robert Moses’s Long Island Bridges as a clear example of using barriers to exclude. Here she exclaims how he intuitively designed the entrance of this area to limit the ability of public transport to enter (1953). I don’t believe that this is a clear “slap in the face” to the assumed lower class of not being able to enter an area of higher class but instead it is something that we do not notice unless it is shed light upon. I feel like this is an example of a clear mix of city design/structure and public modes of transport working together to limit exposure of the less fortunate into the higher class, white-collar, area. More often than not, it is only the people on the outside of the fence that realize these clear divisions of class from the architectural walls built around them. In other words, it is hard for someone to gain support of a presidential candidate that claims he understands what the poor needs/wants or what it is like to be in there shoes when they have lived a life of fortune.
All in all, the built environment is not something that is clearly shown to the inhabitants of a particular city or state. This is something that is strategically placed/designed to limit the exposures of certain people into certain areas. I do believe that it is something that was much more limited in the past decades and is now being opened to new theories in present time. We have much more overlap of people into the low, middle and higher class and I believe that this perspective will allow us to grow as a whole and be able to view the world in a much consolidated approach.