Carla Sofia Fuente
September 27, 2016
Schindler’s Argument on Architectural Exclusion
In his “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design and Built Environment”, Schindler’s main argument expresses that man has built an environment which has made discrimination evolve in towns. Schindler expresses how cities have been built in a certain way that separates the white people and the black, the rich and the poor by designing low bridges so that buses do not cross to the rich side and building fences or walls in order to separate communities. Poor communities have disadvantages such as a lack of sidewalks and street signs, since the government does not pay much attention to these Urban communities, therefore this represents discrimination. Many environments prioritize a group of people, in this case, white and rich individuals, even though all citizens have the same rights and should have the same privileges. Discriminatory environments are present in many big cities like New York and Atlanta, Georgia.
New York was intentionally built by Robert Moses, who was known as the “Master Builder”, in a way where poor people have disadvantages (Schindler 1937). Robert Moses designed the infrastructure of NY to exclude the poor/poorer people of the area. This was achieved by designing public works so that buses, transportation common to the poorer areas, could not get to certain areas but, cars and other “wealthier” modes of transport could. As well as Atlanta, Georgia where there is a lack of public transportation since rich people opposed to allow the Metro to access to suburban areas, and by this mean, color people would not enter. This is an example of what Schindler is trying to describe: built environments support, and is the main cause of discrimination. Sadly, this has made people such as the court get used to the idea and allow disappointing actions like this happen. Built Environments built in a discriminatory sort of manner exclude individuals that have the same rights as the others. It is very important to have individuals in mind when a space is built because, “decisions about infrastructure shape more than just the physical city; those decisions also influence the way the residents and visitors experience the city” (Schindler 1939). The city’s environment has the power to change perspectives, visions, behaviors, and even ideals. Therefore, cities should not be built in a way that a group of people has less value because of their ethnicity or state of poverty.
In Conclusion, Schindler analyzes the idea of cities having their infrastructure and architecture built in a way where poor or color people do not have equal rights than rich and white people. All individuals should be engaged in the same activities and should invited to participate in all means, no matter their color or their social wealth. Furthermore, laws should present equal rights to everyone and give the same opportunities, in order to prevent built environments from setting social standards regarding race and class, creating a trend in many places, and controlling human behavior. Although environments built in this manner are hard to modify, cities that are being developed should end discriminatory architectural decisions.
Schindler, Sarah B. “Architectural Exclusion: Theory.” Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment, The Yale Law Journal, 1934, pp. 1942–1954.