January 2016 archive

Summary “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. “

Sarah Schindler, an Associate Professor, at University of Maine School of Law examines how “monumental structures of concrete and steel embody a systematic social inequality”. Physical attributes of cities such as park benches with  divided seats are avenue to prevent the homeless from laying down. These structures implement a normalcy to the increasing issue of excluding the homeless within the American society.

In urban cities the exclusion created by the built environment is more prevalent. Planners are aware that some structures are built to benefit some while leaving others disadvantaged. Some planners neglect to consideration all who live in urban environment due to the Nicholas Blomley’s term “traffic logic- the idea that planners and civil engineers prioritize the flow of pedestrians and traffic through a physical space, with a focus on civil engineering, rather than prioritizing equal access to a physical space for all, with a focus civil rights.” The ideology by behind this type of development of cities, render a breeding ground for the environmental exclusion. Many times the ones left disadvantaged are the poor and minorities. When discussing the built environment from a scholarship lens, the topic is usually generalized and only stated with surface information. Lessig only discusses two neighborhoods limits the extent to which the neighborhoods integrate. Too often the scholarship community refer to the build in environment as high technology (lee tien) and a metaphoric in justice (Susan strum).  These terms are used to gloss over the social exclusion of the built environment but not look at build environment as the problem its self. Some legal scholars confront the issued surrounding the built environment. The ideas of exclusionary amenities, allows for developers to created residential areas that only appeal to individuals of specific social economic class. This in directed permits the developer excludes for people of people of color in the specific area.

Communities also design their transit systems to exclude people in the built environment. In places of northern metro Atlanta affluent suburbs wont allow the MARTA to be present in the communities so that undesirable people aren’t able to penetrate this area. People of low income and of color usually have a more difficult time because they are more dependent of public transportation than others. Transits development is many time strategically placed inconspicuously to keep people away such examples like highways. These highways create almost impossible avenues to walk across to reach more influential places.  Unfortunately, many like Cynthia Wiggins- a seventeen-year-old hit on her way to work at a suburban mall are left victim to this type of architecture. Additionally, Sidewalks cross walks are made difficult to cross sometimes intentionally to exclude certain individuals from entering into these neighborhoods. Walled ghettos are a simple way to create this division like The eight mile wall in Detroit. In other places like the pubic housing communities in New Heaven the elimination wall did not fall until May of 2014, but the effects are this physical separation are still felt today with the ghetto still isolated by the social economic status of the surrounding communities.

The exclusion on the built environment will continue to be felt until reform can be brought to the way the built environment is developed.


SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-2024. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.

Summary of “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” 

Margret Morton demonstrates the use of space in the urban city of New York by depicting the homeless utilizing the abandoned tunnel system. Nersessova’s article dives into the photos shot by Morton analyzing the most fundamental concept of having a home and self identification that comes with it.

In society’s urban metropolises, many view the homeless through the scope of lacking a home simply because their dwellings do not fit the traditional architecture of a home. The domestic architecture of the homeless is comprised of scrap materials to build cohesive structures. After the building of this dwelling, the human connection with space is unified allowing a sense of pride and personal touch to be experienced. Although, the homeless earn a sense of identity through their homes. Due to the fragile nature of their circumstances they are constantly faced the with ever-daunting reality of their homes being destroyed. Morton’s first peak into this reality was through the profound story of Pepe –A watchman within community of Bushville. The entire duration of Pepe’s story Morton monitors the progression of his house transforming from a pile of scraps to him fixing his structure to have better insulation in the winter, installing a kitchen and hoping to eventually install a bathroom. Pepe’s shanty structure was finally meeting the traditional criteria of a home. Unfortunately, Pepe’s place fell victim to the the crushing bulldozers of society only viewing him as homeless and leaving him again with only a pile of scraps. Morton demonstrated through Pepe that the homeless are only viewed as an economic problem, which holds no human connection of space when surrounding the homeless in the eyes of society.

The domestic space of today is formed around the capitalistic view of building urban spaces that appeal to consumer as tourist around the city. Cities like New York only advertise the success through the environment and also displaying the despair of the homeless. Nersessova examines the idea that cities show wealth through its building space and people placement of stability within their homes.  Although, many do not own their own homes or the land they’re built upon similar to the homeless. The separation of the two simply exist upon the idea that the individual with the “stable” home is happier. This happiness is measured through the amount of wealth acquired within the capitalistic environment. Happiness on this measurement scale continues to increase the gap between the wealthy and middle class and close the gap between the middle class and impoverished.

Morton’s pictures of the homeless developing tunnels as a place of refuge from the violence or simply as a place to call their own despite the view of society. The homeless are able able to carve out their own placement in the concrete jungle of Urban cities. Nersessova’s article formed a better understanding about the homes and how we identify with them in an urban setting. This transformation in thought brought forth the thinking that once urban cities appeal to creating spaces for all despite economic status and traditional standards, a better living space for all who live in urban environments will become achieved.


NERSESSOVA, IRINA. “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23 (2014): 26. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.




Syllabus Quiz

What are the major projects?

How will your final grade be calculated?

  • you will earn points for just about everything you do in this course–attending class, completing in-class work, studying, major projects, contributing material to our collaborative archive about the built environment in Atlanta, etc.

What is the “submission form” and how do you use it?

  • the form is to submit all of your work, and to sign up for in-person and online study groups and in-person group conferences.
  • To submit something for credit, whether it’s a major assignment or an in-class minute paper, you will fill out this form with your name, your GSU email address, your instructor’s name, and the URL (link) to whatever you’re submitting. Your instructor will then evaluate your submission and return feedback and points to you.

Where on the course website can you find an overview of what’s due and the readings for each unit?

  • What is the general plan for the course, and when are things due?

What is the best way to see an overview of what’s due each week?

  • Weekly overview calendar

What is the attendance policy?

  • You earn points for coming to class and lose points for unexcused absences. Students in the M/W F2F section earn 20 points for coming to class, and lose 20 points for each absence. Students in the hybrid sections earn 40 points for coming to class, and lose 40 points for each absence. Arriving to class late will result in a deduction of 10-20 points (20-40 points for hybrid sections).

What are my office hours, and how do you make an appointment to see me outside of class?

    • Office: 25 Park Place #2434
    • Office Hours: M/W 9-11 am, and by appointment; I am able to meet during office hours or by appointment via Skype or Google Hangout if that works better than an in-person conference
    • Contact: rwharton3{at}gsu{the dot goes here}edu

How do you earn participation credit? Provide a link to the instructions/guidelines for particiption.

  • We will assign points to your workreflecting the level of your participation both inside and outside of class. We will also subtract points for failing to participate (e.g., missing class) so as to fairly reflect your level of engagement with the course concepts. Your goal is to accrue as many points as possible during the semester.
  • Participation

How many points can you earn by participating in or organizing a study group session?


How can you be assured of earning an “A” in this course?

  • Students who complete all four of the major projects and earn at least 2,500 points will automatically receive a grade of “A.”

What are the minimum requirements for earning a passing grade of “C”?

  • you will earn at least 1,475 points and pass the course with at least a grade of “C.”

What do you do if you’re not sure how to document your participation in order to earn points?

  • If you ever have questions about what kind of evidence you need to provide to document your participation and how to submit it, stop by during office hours or ask the question before or after class. You’ll earn points for the office hours visit, asking the question, and for finding a way to make the information available to the rest of your classmates.


MLK Day!


Today on MLK in commemoration of his legacy,  I visited the national site here in downtown Atlanta. The historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Kng preached, preserved the church’s main sanctuary. While sitting in the pew starring at the pulpit where King gave so many inspirational messages that transformed lives, I truly felt the appreciation for his sacrifice. This MLk day motivated me reflect upon what type of legacy I want to leave behind through my actions, character, and works with various people.