“Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment,” by Sarah Schindler Summary

January 7, 2016 - Reading Summaries
  1. The article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment,” by Sarah Schindler, is about the various ways architecture was utilized in order to promote discrimination and segregation.The general ideas of the article are the theory behind architectural exclusion, the practice of it, and the failure of legal scholars to recognize it. The practice of architectural exclusion is also broken down to provide various examples in different places across the country. Sarah Schindler talks about how people tasked with recognizing and dealing with discrimination did not recognize it when it concerns urban design. Schindler repeatedly points out how legal scholars pointed their attention to combating discrimination and segregation when other laws and social norms promoted it. Architectural designs like the ones mentioned served to promote discrimination and segregation, because they would be used to separate colored and poor people from the wealthier residents. When developers are designing cities and neighborhoods, the people thought that they were designing them to help in things such as more efficient routes to places and other such things. The developers themselves may have the good of the public interest at heart, but they would actually result in perpetuating the social norms of discrimination and segregation. Even though officials recognized that architecture can promote discrimination and segregation, they would not give it as much importance as a law that was intended to discriminate. The actual practice of architectural exclusion prevents certain groups of people from interacting with other groups of people. People passed laws saying that other people were not allowed to access certain public locations. Some cities were built in a way that certain people would not be able to go to a certain part because of the barrier put up. it is often thought that certain structures were created to help people not be so close to each other to provide personal space. For instance, a bench in a public place now has arm rests in the middle so it can fit 3 people. But its actually to stop homeless people from sleeping on them. Separating people because they are poor or a different race would not pass today. Most neighborhoods do not have sidewalks or bike pathways. If they do, then they do not connect to other neighborhoods because the neighborhood is of lower social and racial status. In some communities there are tall fences or wall to separate different classes. This also affects transportation too. Low income and people of color rely on transportation more than others in certain areas than others. The communities that do not have public transportation do not want them there because they bring undesired people to their communities. Communities change depending on the majority that inhabits them. Most of these changes are ridiculous and won’t make a difference because there is always going to be someone to get around the solution that was supposedly going to help the community.

    In conclusion, a variety of discrete tactics were utilized in order to discriminate and segregate undesirable groups of people. The tactics that were used were able to avoid being banned by law. Many of these tactics were hidden under the guise of furthering the public interest.



    SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-2024, pp. 1934-1972. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.entry-content


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