Reading Summary 1

In Sarah Schindler’s article, Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment, she explains how a city’s architectural layout can promote segregation and discrimination. Often the people who are regulated and constrained are poor people and people of color. In Schindler’s article she reveals how the built environment of certain cities have man-made physical features that prevent the poor and colored people from accessing certain areas and how it is overlooked not only by the common people but the scholars who design them.


These architectural exclusions can come in the form of walls, fences, and highways. These physical barriers disable the interaction between different groups of people in a community.  She also includes that street layouts, one-way streets, the absence of sidewalks and crosswalks; design elements that can shape the demographic of the city and regulates behavior of people by making it difficult to travel through certain areas. For example, some bridges were designed so low that buses could not pass under, preventing people who rely on public transportation unable to access these areas. Some highways are built in order to destroy neighborhood that were in the slums/projects. The designs in the built environment can raise many problems for the poor and colored people, like  Schindler explains how architectural exclusion can limit the poor/color people from transportation, quality of life, and economic opportunities.


Schindler  goes on to state that these exclusionary built environments have been given little attention by Courts, judges, and lawmakers; since most city planners and architects design cities and neighborhoods with hopes in creating more efficient routes and streets to help with the flow of traffic and other such related things. Often these physical regulation are put up by city planners ignorant of the fact that it has effected a certain group of people. But the worst fact is that often people of the community view these architectural exclusion as merely there because it was just designed to be there. Even if a physical barrier is put up in the attempt to segregate, it is difficult to show the intent of discrimination especially involving land use and the built environment. Lawmakers are more concerned about laws that promote discrimination rather than architectural designs, because the built environment does not fit within the definition of regulation as legal scholars traditionally employ the term. As a result the built environment is very easily overlooked when setting new laws. In reality the idea that architecture regulates is found at the core of much urban planning and geography scholarship, unfortunately that body of literature does not always describe architecture regulation, therefore nothing is done.

Sarah Schindler concludes her article by stating that the government is able cover up their true intent behind reason architectural exclusion by making a more efficient the built environment, but really it is to segregate and discriminate undesirable groups of people from a community. She wanted to raise awareness of the regulatory nature of architecture and its role in dividing people within a community. By making the common people of cities realize that designs in their city may be put up for the reason of discrimination, Sarah Schindler hopes to begin taking action against its effects in the future.