Architectural Exclusion- Reading summary

In her article, Architectural Exclusion, Sarah Schindler explores the built environment and its impact on society. The built environment is any man-made structures that interfere with an individual’s ability to access public spaces. The article provides an example of an instances when bridges were put in place in order to prevent the African American communities from access public beaches. Schindler points out the protest from higher income communities to have public transportation run throughout them in fear of lower income communities having easier access to them. MARTA, the Atlanta subway system, has been long time protested by suburban communities North of Atlanta. These exclusionary measure are easily justified with reasons like reducing traffic and noise. Sarah Schindler then moves on to explain how government officials attempt to enforce antidiscrimination laws. The problem in preventing the discrimination through the built environment lies in the nature of the conflict. Architecture, unlike humans, isn’t believed to have bias and therefore isn’t considered to be implemented for such reasons. For instance, Having a door on one side of the corner rather than the other in order to attract people from one street is far less obvious  than placing a sign on the door saying, “this street only, please.” People are far less likely to question subtle changes in the built environment’s influences on our behavior. Schindler then concludes the article with an explanation of the impacts of the built environment. She explains the difficulty in reversing the effects of the built environment due to the permanence of the structures put in place.

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