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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