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

This article goes into discussing architectural exclusion. It is separated into 2 sections. The first section is Theories of architectural exclusion and the other section consists of the practice of architectural exclusion. Within these sections it goes into detail. The first section of “Theory” discusses architecture as a regulation. It starts out saying that there are 3 forms of discrimination, two legal, one not: exclusion through law, exclusion through threats, and “the third form, which I refer to as architecture, is not” (Schindler 1942). Schindler moves on to discuss the first topic, Architecture as Regulation. She discusses how people don’t necessarily pay attention to the features of an environment. Schindler says,

For example, one might think it a simple aesthetic design decision to create a park bench that is divided into three individual seats with armrests separating those seats. Yet the bench may have been created this way to prevent people – often homeless people – from lying down and taking naps.

She goes on to list other specific examples and clearly states her purpose of the article. Schindler says that it is not controversial among scholars to say that the built environment is constructed the way it is in order to further political goals. Architecture is built to favor some and disfavor others, as well as being used to exclude. Schindler states. “The metaphorical use of architecture implies an underlying recognition – foundational to planners and architects – that physical design regulates and that the built environment controls human behavior” (Schindler 1947). The second part of the “Theory” section discusses “Racialized space and place”. She credits legal scholars who have confronted concepts like architecture in the context of class and race. It is thought that places have racial identities based on history and reputation. She continues to discuss issues related to race including marginalization and landscape as “one of the most overlooked instruments of modern race-making” (Schindler 1950). She concludes this section by stating that architectural regulation is just as powerful as law but less recognizable, and thus we should pay more attention to it.

The second section discusses “Architectural Exclusion: Practice”. This section talks about the ways that states have built their environments to restrict access to certain areas of a community. This section is then broken into 2 smaller sections A. Physical barriers to access and B. Transit. The first part details specific examples of physical barriers used to exclude. She states, “For example, sidewalks make walking easier and safer, in large part by reducing the risk of pedestrian and vehicle collisions” (Schindler 1954). She claims that all of the barriers are approved because of the cities relationship to public health and safety. These barriers have proven to cause serious changes within communities. With this change, she states “The possibility of transformation as a result of architecture raises a related question: where did the people who were using these streets prior to the architectural intervention go?” (Schindler 1960). In the last section of the article it discusses transit. It talks about placement of transit stops, highway routes, exits, wayfinding, and residential parking permits. All of these are geared towards restricting lower-income families and people of color from gaining access to certain areas. She concludes this article by stating “The examples of architectural exclusion identified in this part are concerning in that they reveal a number of problems” (Schindler 1973). It is made clear that following up, these problems will be analyzed more in depth.