Reading Summary #2: Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York

Reading Summary #2

      Nersessova’s interpretations of Margret Morton’s photography depict one’s relationship to their home, and how essential it is for one’s survival and identity. Shelter is a key factor of life, and none are permanent, making it a very vulnerable space. Does your home reflect who you are as a person? Or is it just a place to lay your head after a long day? After reading this article, the universal answer to these questions seems unattainable because the term “home” is based upon one’s perception. The term homeless was quickly analyzed and disregarded in this article and substituted with “displaced”. Homelessness is not the condition of not having a home, because many displaced citizens call the comfy street corner their living room.

Along Margret’s travels, she stumbles upon a tunnel with only two entrances, pitch dark, and at first glance would be a “normal person’s” worst nightmare. However, a home is merely based upon one’s perception. Margret meets and photographs a man named Bernard. Bernard feels differently about the tunnels, “There’s a certain level of consciousness required of a man. And one can’t perfect that in functional society. You have to basically be separated and apart from it. And I guess that’s why I’m going through what I’m going through. I’ve been put into a hell of an environment to try to perfect this. But by the same token, it’s a perfect environment. It’s all about one’s focus and one’s will to be. And everything is challenging” (Morton 7). One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and these dark and ominous caves allow Bernard the perfect conditions to reach the level of consciousness he craves and deems necessary. The functioning world does not allow a working man the time to stop and fathom the space that which these displaced men call home. We continue our stressful and endless endeavors in today’s ever competitive markets and look right past the continuous destruction and restrictions being placed upon the urban space. Mortan believes that homelessness could also be personal decision, refuge from a life they don not want a part of, freedom from the chains of a functioning world with no time for one’s self. In Contrary, there was another homeless man named Bob who also calls the tunnels his home. He feels safe in the caves, because the people who would be of harm to Bob ironically are afraid to enter the seemingly endless pit to nowhere. Bob states that it is a good place to find yourself, but also states that you can get lost and before you know it lose complete connection with society.

This article draws a fine line between the less fortunate and fortunate, not necessarily in a negative way but in a completely different way of thinking. The less fortunate grasp an understanding that “space adjusts and, at times, controls our reality, and in giving in to space psychologically, inhabitants can generate ideal environments” (Morton). These environments may seem horrid to a girl from the suburbs, but never facing this sort of controversy she cannot fully fathom the circumstances and just goes back to her own, functional way of living. Homeless people make do with what they have, and are in some cases simply trying to find peace in a very loud and demanding world.




Works Cited

NERSESSOVA, IRINA. “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s           Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23 (2014): 26. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

Reading Summary #1: Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment

     Reading Summary #1

      The article Schindler writes about architectural exclusion analyzes how architecture can be overlooked as a means of discrimination and segregation and the ways in which this occurs in cities all across America. Schindler breaks down her article into five sections. The piece covers everything from how the built environment shapes human behavior, how architectural exclusion occurs, and how easily it is thrown aside by the population and even lawmakers.

The infrastructure of a city goes deeper than just the way it looks. In many urban areas a specific design is put in place to keep out people from certain walks of life. There are several examples of this. One actually takes place in the city of Atlanta. MARTA is the main form of public transportation throughout the city. However, the tracks of MARTA do not expand past certain areas outside the perimeter. There is a reason for this. The wealthier areas in the suburbs do not want MARTA to extend too far past the city, with the worry that the homeless or people of lower class will have a means to travel outside the urban walls (Schindler 1938). There are countless other examples of architectural exclusion such as bridges being just low enough so a public transportation bus cannot drive under or walls built between a poor area and a newly developed one. Schindler points out that these infrastructure decisions shape more than just the area; they shape our behavior (Schindler 1940).

Schindler suggests that some spaces have racial meaning (1950). This idea seems a bit illogical at first, but when though out the author makes an important point. The fact that a certain part of town is walled off because of social class gives law enforcement the idea that certain people do long belong on the wealthy side of that wall. Some spaces do not have safe pedestrian access for a reason (Schindler 1955). Those areas with no crosswalks or sidewalks are strategically placed. Often times, people hardly give thought to such aspects of a space, which leads to another one of Schindler’s main points: how architectural exclusion is so overlooked by lawmakers.

Architecture is not thought of as a way to separate social classes in a space. That is precisely why lawmakers do not often enforce disputes dealing with architectural exclusion. Even if these issues were recognized, the current law system is not equipped to address the damage the exclusion can do (Schindler 1934). An example that Schindler uses is racial zoning. In the early 1900’s racial zoning began by the cities passing ordinances keeping certain races, often those of color, from moving into predominantly white areas (Schindler 1975). These regulations can technically hold up in court, despite the obvious reason behind them. Thus, lawmakers often look past these types of rules, and there are no current laws to force them to deal with the issue.

Overall, Schindler’s article expresses how architecture can cause discrimination in the built environment. Architecture is used as a way to divide the community and keep out the “undesirables”. Schindler digs deeper to point out that architecture goes repeatedly unnoticed as a way to shape a space and alter the behavior of those who live in it. Architectural discrimination is all around us and although it may seem like just a bridge or a park bench, those structures often have ulterior motives that are too often overlooked.





Works Cited

SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal124.6 (2015): 1934-2024. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.



Syllabus and Course Info Take-Home Quiz

What are the major projects? In a bulleted list, provide links to the project descriptions for each of them.

There are four major projects: Reading Summaries, Annotated Bibliography, Built Environment Descriptions, and Built Environment Analysis.


Above is the link to descriptions of all four projects.

How will your final grade be calculated?

Final grades will be calculated based off of the number of points a student earns during the semester.

A-/A: major projects complete + 2,340-2,600 points
B-/B/B+: major projects complete + 2,080-2,339 points
C/C+: major projects complete + 1,475-2,079 points
Non-passing: one or more major projects incomplete, or fewer than 1,475 points total

What is the “submission form” and how do you use it? Embed the form below your answer (hint: Google “embed Google form” to find out how).

The submission form is used whenever a student wants to turn something in for points. The submission form can be found on Dr. Wharton’s webpage:

Embed the course calendar and weekly overview below this question.

Where on the course website can you find an overview of what’s due and the readings for each unit?

Go to and scroll down to where it says Course Overview

What is the best way to see an overview of what’s due each week?

Visit Dr. Wharton’s webpage ( and scroll down to where it says Weekly Overview and click on the link:

This shows the layout of what is due each week.

What is the attendance policy?

Students will get points deducted for each absence from class (40 points for hybrid classes), including being late to class which results in a 20-40 point deduction for hybrid classes, and will also earn 40 points for each class they attend. Students are expected to follow the GSU code of conduct and attendance policy.

What are my office hours, and how do you make an appointment to see me outside of  class?

Office hours are on Monday and Wednesday each week from 9:00am – 11:00am

To make an appointment outside of class, email is the best way to reach you. And meetings through Skype or Google Hangout are alternatives to meeting during regular office hours.

How do you earn participation credit? Provide a link to the instructions/guidelines for participation.

Syllabus & Course Info

How many points can you earn by participating in or organizing a study group session?

Up to 25 points

How can you be assured of earning an “A” in this course?

By completing all of the four projects and earning at least 2,500 points

What are the minimum requirements for earning a passing grade of “C”?

Students must earn a minimum of 1,475 points, complete all four class projects without going above and beyond, and miss only 4 class meetings in order to earn the grade of “C”.

What do you do if you’re not sure how to document your participation in order to earn points?

You can stop by during office hours and inquire about how to report your participation points.

What are the Unit 1 readings and which readings will you choose to summarize for Reading Summaries 1&2:

The Unit 1 readings are:

    1. SCHINDLER, SARAH. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination And Segregation Through Physical Design Of The Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1934-2024, read parts I and II only, pp. 1934-1972. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
    2. NERSESSOVA, IRINA. “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” Disclosure 23 (2014): 26. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.
    3. MORTON, MARGARET. The Tunnel : The Underground Homeless Of New York City. n.p.: New Haven : Yale University Press, c1995., 1995. GEORGIA STATE UNIV’s Catalog. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. [*On reserve in the library. Ask for this call number at the circulation desk: HV 4506.N6 M67 1995. 2 hr limit. Take the quiz while you’re reading it! (D2L)]

I chose #2 and #3 to summarize for Reading Summaries 1&2.