Suzanne Tick‘s “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” is an article that focuses on our post modern society and the changes in architecture that need to be made to accommodate all Americans. Tick points out how it’s no longer black and white with female and male sexual identities, now there are actually “five billion people in the world and five billion unique sexual identities.” Therefore Suzanne feels as though, “Designers,who should focus a critical eye on society’s issues, need to work within this discourse and help promote acceptance and change.”
According to Tick the fashion and beauty industry has taken that first step into evolving for it’s updated clientele. For instance, ” Alexander Wang’s women’s coat from Fall 2015 has masculine tailoring with a military look, while Annemiek van der Beek’s Primal Skin makeup line has been designed to be appealing to the male buyer.” This is that first step that we need in order to begin our acceptance process as a nation.
Tick also mentions in certain colleges students are not marking their gender on their applications because that don’t want to be identified as one or the other. These small but significant changes are leading to the development of unisex bathroom by big companies such as Google. The purpose is “… to allow all individuals to feel comfortable, safe, and included—and not have to choose a gender while in the workplace.”
‘Accommodate’ can have a compulsory aspect — it’s a word that involves moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not.
Emily Bazelon‘s “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating‘” is an article that articulates and brings to question the basis of the Public Restroom System we have in place in America. Bazelon informs us that “Transgender people, most prominently, are asking society to rethink all of this, from signs to design to who gets to enter where.” In the 19th century states began to require sex-segregated restrooms on a discriminatory premise, much like racial segregation, yet we still implicate this irrational division as a social norm in today’s society. Bazelon goes on to say similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act, there should be a small alteration to the original design to accommodate for all individuals. “For people with disabilities, reasonable accommodation is about a bar next to the toilet and a button that opens the door. For transgender kids, it’s showering near your peers in your own stall, and then maybe getting dressed behind a privacy curtain.” Bazelon emphasizes.
To strengthen her argument Bazelon mentions an incident involving a “transgender high-school student that identifies as a female who was undergoing hormone therapy and asked to change in the girls’ locker room.” located in the suburban Illinois. The school district refused the teen her rights stating that, “Privacy concerns required sending her to a separate room down the hall.” This resulted in a civil rights complaint from the teen’s family soon ending with an intervention from the United State Department of Education asking the district to “give her the right to shower and change in the same locker room with her female peers.” Bazelon suggested a privacy curtain could be added in order to serve as a compromise for both the transgender teen and those of which have concerns about privacy rights.
To recap, Emily Bazelon published this article in hopes that it would bring awareness to the general public about the urgent need of reform in the architecture of public restrooms in America due to our accelerated evolving nation. Americans have to stop being so afraid of change/the unknown and welcome the evolution. The United States of America was created with the intent to promote freedom and equality for all; while our founding fathers had a good intent, they could not have possibly predicted what life would be like in 2016. With that being said, in spirit of Bazelon’s words it’s time we begin to make these necessary changes to accommodate all Americans and not just the masses.
Within the Article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment” Sarah Schindler brings to light a method of exclusion that most people are ignorant to. Schindler explains as a society we have some what addressed and overcome forms of exclusion such as racial ordinances, segregation by businesses, and verbal threats, yet there still lies a form that most aren’t consciously aware of. This form is called Architectural Exclusion which is the exclusion of specific personnel due to the design of the architecture which can have various affects on an environment such as a regulation of behavior and subconscious racially motivated decision making.
For instance, Schindler gives an example of a low bridge that Robert Moses specifically designed so that mas transit, such as public buses, could not pass through the area. Seeing as though very few minorities actually own cars this was a very creative/legal form of segregation intended to keep the lower class citizens of NYC from easily accessing Jones Beach. Schindler noted that, “-we tend to view such bridges as innocuous features rather than as exclusionary objects.”(1954)
Another example Schindler presented was the use of one way streets and grid patterns in order to direct traffic away from wealthier neighborhoods. Specifically Schindler concentrated on Greenmount Avenue in East Baltimore which was used to “-separate the poor, predominantly African-American neighborhood of Waverly on its east side from the wealthy, predominantly white neighborhood of Guilford on its west.” The way the two-way cross streets were designed it made it extremly difficult for Waverly residents to get to Guilford yet quite convientent for Guilford residents to access Waverly(1970).
To conclude, Sarah Schindler wrote this article to bring awareness of the unjust utilization of architectural exclusion to the general public. Within architectural plans the government has been able to get away with manipulating the spacial mode of communication without majority of the public even noticing. By law this social injustice is legal even though it is no different from hanging a whites only sign in a saloon window. Over time we as citizens have become accustom to the way our communities are structured furthermore promoting the longevity of this discriminatory tactic. After reading this article Sarah Schindler hopes to inspire her readers to promote change to this ongoing phenomenon.