Reading Summary #1

“Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.”

by Sarah Schindler.

Robert Moses built most of New York’s infrastructure. He created public transportation called the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) for people of all races. In doing so, Moses was known to be the “Master builder” of New York. People depended on MARTA to have access to the endless job opportunities that people, especially the poor and less fortunate, had.

In some places, certain people were told that were not allowed to be in certain places. The officials even passed laws to gain support on this matter. This negotiation acted as a barrier for people to reach out for the multiple job opportunities they could be having. Cities were too big and they lacked transportation for people to get from one side of the city to the other. Schindler describes how architecture affects us in three methods, two of which are only approved to be right.

The First Part – Architectural Exclusion:Theory

In the first method, Schindler talks about how architecture is a from of regulation in the environment. The different landscapes like a bridge and bench can affect our behavior towards the environment. People fail to shape infrastructure instead of considering how it might impact the individual. According to Nicholas Blomley, this was known as “traffic logic” where things complied to be more important on physical terms of infrastructure than on how it might help the individuals.Architectural concepts are used to manipulate a humans behavior which binds into ones actions.

In the second method, Schindler shows how space, place and mobility can limit who can buy homes and avoid the poor or the less fortunate people from buying homes. This is done so that they achieve something of a greater and better value. Space holds a racial meaning especially when it comes to how people can’t be in certain areas or how certain people can’t use public transportation. People are also treated differently in different places which also demonstrates discrimination.

The Second Part – Architectural Exclusion Practice

According to Robert Moses, not everyone had equal access to the public transportation in the city. A few techniques were aimed to keep people from using the public transportation. Moses mainly favored the upper and middle-class people while ignoring the poor people. Places lacked sidewalks and crossroads to intentionally avoid places where poor people reside. They were instead given the only option to use the side of a busy street to get to their destination. This was not easy and safe to do.

Architectural features like walls, gates and guardhouses of gated communities were used to prevent people from coming into their communities.People were physically excluded in places like Europe and China where they are separated by walls. The government is allowed to forbid these barriers under the violation of civil rights. These barriers are sometimes placed on roads to deny or make it hard for people to access drugs who might look for them.

Mobility of different parts of the environment goes hand in hand with accessibility. Certain groups of people are meant to be kept out of places and from using public transit. The passage talks about how a scholar stated that, “race has been a factor limiting the geography of transit” (Moses,1962). In other words, people of color and poor people depend largely on public transportation and are denied access to these advantages in some areas. People from different areas move to reside near the public transits so as to take advantage of how they can gain job opportunities.

Communities use different confusion techniques to confuse its visitors on the roads. They do so by constructing one way streets so that the officials could deviate the poor or confused visitors into a different place. Other people try to prevent this by building two way streets and reducing confusion among visitors. People remove signs from roads to mislead drivers into other areas. They do this to keep strangers out of their neighborhoods.People are limited to park in different areas unless they have a parking permit. The goal was to exclude people who do not live in that neighborhood. This does not violate the Equal Protection Clause since it reserves property values.

The Third Part – A Brief History of Exclusion by Law (and Norms)

Minorities were kept out of places. For example, blacks were not allowed to reside on white blocks. Laws or ordinances were passed to prevent this from happening. Some actions tended to violate the Constitution like selling property to the blacks which violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Limitations are placed on exclusionary zoning. It was also said that it would advance the states general welfare, in other words, developing more houses and making houses more affordable. Jim Crow laws which created physical separation between races in public places, to some extent promoted exclusionary zoning.

The Fourth Part – Architectural Exclusion in the Courts: A Lack of Attention and Success

Those of superior authority in courts fail to recognize that architecture regulates. They don’t realize the importance of architectures regulation. They are looked upon to be different as opposed to laws and their regulation.Courts may interpret the concept but they don’t take it seriously. An action or preservative measure is not taken to promote architectural zoning. People don’t think that architecture influences any part of the political process.

The Fifth Part – Problems and Solutions

Unfortunately, most forms of architectural zoning are declared to be illegal even though it is the most common. Architectural exclusion is a also a problem that continues even up to this day. Many courts do not support people in tearing down structures which are constructed for a sole purpose. Some public infrastructures are being ignored by the state to be done any changes for the community. Some problems include people being excluded, prevents people from  being open to opportunities, and how the state continues for the practice of people being kept out and taking advantage of the public transits.

One solution is that more and more roads and bridges are being built to reduce confusion between visitors and to avoid people from being excluded. The officials are required to look deep into this situation, understand  a lot about it and then to take affirmative action towards the community. This would enhance for the community to be better in terms of infrastructure and how it affects the individual. Officials would also find solutions to help the handicapped to move about in society since they cannot do it through means of how we do.

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