Tapestry of Space (Annotated Bibliography Number Three)

NERSESSOVA, IRINA. Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York. disClosure, 10556133, 2014, Issue 23. Web.

In this paper Irina Nersessova reflects on the book “The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City” by Margaret Morton, which contained a collection of photos and stories about some of the homeless that were found in New York. Additionally, she discusses how part of our identity as human beings are tied to our homes and how the homeless in Morton’s book have become more intimately connected with their homes because they’ve literally built them through their own creative input using discarded materials. Furthermore, she argues that because the homeless are in a sense separated from normal society, they haven’t been influenced by consumerist media, leaving them the room needed to self-reflect and find themselves.

I believe this paper offers an interesting perspective on homelessness. Typically, the homeless are seen as “homeless” and disadvantaged. First, according to Nersessova, they’re not homeless; they just do not live in conventional homes. Second, they’re not wholly disadvantaged compared to normal society. What I mean by that is Nersessova opened my eyes up to the idea that the homeless are not influenced by the media in the same way normal society is. In normal society people are suffused with images, video, and audio of what should be bought, worn, or how one should think, stifling personal development and enlightenment. The homeless are not explicitly impacted by this media; however, they may be implicitly impacted by the actions of a society that is.

SCHINDLER, SARAH. Architectural Exclusion (Annotated Bibliography Number Two)

SCHINDLER, SARAH. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. Yale Law Journal. Apr2015, Vol. 124 Issue 6, p1934-2024. 91p. Web.

In this article Sarah Schindler examines how the built environment can intentionally and unintentionally, psychologically and physically effect people. Schindler gives an example of this in New York where a city planner named Robert Moses built low-hanging overpasses over roads leading to Jones beach. Because a normal bus cannot fit under these low-hanging overpasses, this effectively prevents those who rely on buses (mainly the poor and minorities) from traveling to the beach. Moreover, Schindler argues that many lawmakers and city planners do not take seriously the idea of the built environment being a form of regulation in the same way a law is; and the people who do recognize that the built environment can be a form of regulation are unable to act through the current jurisprudence.

I believe this is a very thorough paper that provides a solid introduction to the influence of built environments. It contains good examples and explanations of the nature of built environments and why many law makers are as indifferent as they’re powerless to change or prevent the regulation that they may cause.


Malaria: How Can Changing the Built Environment Reduce Cases? (Annotated Bibliography Number One)

“Malaria: How Can Changing the Built Environment Reduce Cases?” BBC News. BBC, 11 May 2015. Web.

This video discusses using the built environment to fight mosquitoes carrying diseases like malaria. According to the narrator, 90% of deaths caused by malaria are in Africa; and the narrator suggests that this can in part be combated by changing the built environment. For example, according to the narrator, it used to be the case that in northern Europe people would keep cows inside their homes during the winter, which would attract disease-carrying mosquitoes. However, once people started keeping cows in separate housing, the number of people being bit by mosquitoes was reduced.

This video has given me new insight into built environments. Not only do built environments influence humans, but they can also effect other organisms as well, which in turn can effect humans. I chose this source because it is in the form of a video and it offers an insight not offered by what I’ve read about built environments thus far. Unfortunately, one of the draw backs for this video is its lack of rigor.