Reading Summary One

imageSchindler’s  “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment,” addresses the many faults surrounding built environments across many regions.Schindler begins her argument with first explaining exactly what a built environment is. “The built environment is characterized by man-made physical features that make it difficult for certain individuals—often poor people and people of color—to access certain places.” (Schindler)  She also recollects how the government is ever-so aware of these instances yet they still tolerated these acts of discrimination.

Examples of such discrimination are stated throughout Schindler’s arguments. She begins by introducing Robert Moses, the one responsible for most of New York’s infrastructure during his time of being appointed. Moses intentionally had overpasses built to where buses could not pass underneath them, which would prevent many people of color and those less fortunate from having access from the beach. The expansion of MARTA to predominately white neighborhoods shows another act of discrimination. The expansion of MARTA was opposed because they felt that it would give people of color easy access to their communities. The kicker is when Schindler mentions the segregation and discrimination in Memphis, Tennessee in 1974. During this time, white residents requested the closing of of a street that connected their neighborhood a primarily black one. “Ostensibly reduce traffic and noise, in addition to promoting  safety” was the claim made. The Supreme Court felt this was an “inconvenience” and a “routine burden of citizenship.” Justice Marshall felt this held a “powerful symbolic message” and the whites were sending a clear message to those of color. It is very evident that they are displeased or “disgruntled;” in the words of Justice Marshall; with sharing a street with blacks. Although it was clear that there was obviously a problem of discrimination and segregation, it was still was not perused.

Schindler examines and argues that the built environments overall was a way to keep those of color and those less fortunate. Five parts of the article explain the overall concept of built environments. As you get towards the ending  Sarah begins discussing two parts of architectural exclusion; one being the theory and the other being the practice. The theory exclaims the use of architecture and how it’s modified to keep segregation in tact. For instance, certain laws were put into place to keep certain individuals out of certain areas. Also physical barriers created deterred the entrance to certain areas by certain people. The theory focused more so on the physical infrastructure rather than the social norms. The theory can be broken down into 2 pieces; regulation and legal scholarship.

On the other hand, the “practice” part of Schindlers article is where she describes how those who possess authority over others created the infrastructure that encouraged segregation and discrimination. The practice aspect is more of the physical barriers that were implanted in hopes of keeping those of color and poverty out of certain areas. Transit and the placement of transit signs played a big role in segregation and discrimination.

In essence, Schindler’s arguments and valid points shows that these simple changes do more harm then good for those who are less fortunate and of color. She basically gives an insight of how certain tactics are used today in hopes of keeping segregation alive.

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