Schindlers “Architectural Exclusion” Reading Summary

Sarah Schindlers work “Architectural Exclusion” discusses the forms of regulation performed through architectural work to either discriminate, eliminate, or control one group or another. The reading is broken up into two major parts: Architectural Exclusion as a theory, and Architectural Exclusion as a practice. The theory of architectural exclusion revolves around defining the term architectural exclusion and how its practices are so abundant in the U.S. Architectural Exclusion is a means of regulation or control of one or groups, to either benefit or harm said groups. Many do not see this kind of blatant discrimination because we assume it is just a part of daily life. Due to this it has become very difficult to reprimand many practices of architectural exclusion as it is harder to pinpoint or not taken as serious as laws made to control or discriminate. Part 1 goes into detail about the vast how overwhelming the art of regulation is in the built environment around us, but how few have considered its role in our daily lives. Much of our built environment controls our way of transport and access to certain areas, which has made architectural exclusion more political than lawful. Take for example the abundance of neighborhoods with houses to own in a given city, rather than making apartment homes. Low-income citizens are more likely to rent an apartment than buy a home and are less likely to vote than middle to upper-class citizens, causing government officials to cater to homeowners than renters. This also ties to racial discrimination because more people of color find themselves in lower income situations. Practices like this are found all throughout the United States but are not easy to overcome because many see the built environment not as a means of control, but as just apart of daily life. Part 2 goes into great detail about the different types of architectural exclusion as a practice. It begins with an example of New York architect Robert Moses building bridges that hung very low in order to inhibit public transportation into his newly built park. He did this because at the time the majority of those riding public transit were people of color. One of the largest practices of architectural regulation is by the placement of public transit spots, as those who primarily use public transit are low-income individuals or people of color. It is not only architects that take part in this regulation but neighborhood and government officials as well. Many middle and upper class homeowners will vote against the placement of public transit sites near their residence as a way to deter crime. Government officials will do the same but also go a step above that with the building of highways and walls that create a physical barrier between two groups of people. In example highway exits may be placed leading away from upper-class homes and into more impoverished areas to deter traffic from entering richer neighborhoods.  Again these are all blatant acts of discrimination against one or more groups of people, but as long as it is a form of regulation that can be wielded by people in power and brushed over as nothing more than landscape, then nothing will change.



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