Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York

Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York

 Image result for tunnel

In this article discussed by Irina Nersessova, homelessness and natural architectural structures are intertwined to become a safe haven for the homeless or less fortunate. Homelessness is a major problem in cities amongst the world, and without certain developments some people wouldn’t even have a place to call home. The major description of a homeless person’s home is the underground tunnel in New York City as the topic is discussed through older photographs. Many tourists of the city would assume the area an inconvenient area of wasted space but for those who live there, have more of a physiological connection than those who don’t. The areas of darkness seem terrifying and treacherous to the common eye of those whom aren’t homeless, but for the residents in the darkness, it is considered to be safe. Nersessova, upon recently interviewing a resident, quoted “The absolute darkness of the tunnel prevents danger from entering it, which explains how it is possible to have the highest feeling of safety in a place that is perceived as most dangerous.” The human mind tends to let fear overcome the curiosity of the brain and tends to render us from achieving our true potential. In this case, the darkness is a major fear we have that prevents us from entering a tunnel or dim lit area because of the fear of the unknown, and creates a safe haven for those who reside there.


The Fear of the Unknown

The biggest obstacle a human will ever face is his/her mind. The mind is a powerful thing and often we let our mind control our emotions instead of controlling our mind to become irrevocably unstoppable. This tunnel in New York could be fearful to those who do not understand or know what is in there and what could happen upon being in there, so for those who do it creates an area of shelter and safeness. One resident described living in the area as, “I feel safe in the tunnel because I don’t care how big you are—even if you have a gun or a weapon—if you don’t know where you’re going or if you never been in there—it has no light, no types of light” (Manny). By removing themselves from society aboveground, the residents of the tunnel are able to create a safe haven underground. As previously mentioned by Manny, the tunnel provides a sense of safety that revokes any fear of the darkness that lies ahead. Therefore, the residents of the tunnel would rather live in an area of seclusion that is feared by others than be exposed to the daily reality of society that lives above them.


According to the tunnel residents, life is less stressful underground because they’re able to create a place that doesn’t include life’s daily struggles such as traffic, confrontation, danger and much more. Also, they’re able to avoid the society that once failed them and utilize their time and energy more productively. For example, the residents express their sense of peace through artistic expression inside the tunnel by creating murals and graffiti. As mentioned by the author, Irina Nersessova, the presence of this artwork symbolizes humanity and the presence of a complete society.

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

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

MARTA train in Atlanta

Discrimination & Segregation

In this article, the author, Sarah Schindler addresses the issue of discrimination and segregation displayed through architectural design. She expresses the concern of how certain modes of transportation do not allow numerous individuals, mainly the poor, to leave less fortunate areas. Schindler then gave a list of examples upon how these individuals are kept in the areas, such as MARTA, bridges and roads preventing exit by larger automobiles (primarily buses). Based on her findings and my own observation, I would say that it is true the majority of individuals who ride MARTA are those of color, but it is highly unintelligent to blame architectural design to keep individuals out of a certain area.

Discrimination amongst colored individuals in America will always be discussed and brought about regardless the situation. When one discusses issues regarding those of “color”, it is clear they are primarily referring to African-Americans. However, by definition, a colored individual is one whom is not white thus meaning Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Hispanics, and so forth.

As noted by Schindler, “wealthy, mostly white residents of the northern Atlanta suburbs have vocally opposed efforts to expand MARTA into their neighborhoods for the reason that doing so would give people of color easy access to suburban communities.” Unfortunately, to say whites denied MARTA access into “wealthy” areas to prevent a specific race from having access is incorrect. Also, Schindler explains that she believes the “wealthy, white residents” are to blame for excluding these same individuals of color access to jobs in these areas. However, America is known for possibility, the idea of dreams coming true and is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Therefore, one can only imply that Schindler believes that by disclosing access to these areas to said people, the “wealthy, white residents” are practicing discrimination and segregation; which in turn is causing the poor to stay poor.

Civil Acts Right of 1866

The Civil Acts Right of 1866 gave citizenship and rights to all male individuals in the United States regardless of race and color. Schindler mentioned this law in her article discussing discrimination and segregation of colored people through architectural structures and public transportation, so it should be elaborated on. This article was written in April of 2015, while the Civil Rights Act was clearly written in 1866. That is almost 150 years later and yet we’re still having some of the same conversations being published.


This was a good article and presented well stated arguments about public transportation and architecture and how wealthier individuals prevent those of a lower class to enter. Discrimination and segregation was demolished (legally) when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1866. However, as pointed out by Schindler, due to architectural structures and certain limitations we still have segregation issues today.


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