In her work “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment,” Sarah Schindler argues that the way city buildings, bridges, metro stops, and roads are set up is designed to segregate certain communities, whether it be intentional or unintentional. Throughout the article, Schindler discusses multiple ways in which city planners and architects have designed specific aspects of a city to keep racial minorities and low income groups out of certain places.
One example of this is architect Robert Moses, who designed the overpasses of bridges to “be built intentionally low” to prevent the city buses from fitting underneath them (Schindler, 20). The design of the bridges ensured that individuals who normally relied on public transportation, mainly racial minorities and low income groups, would not be able to cross the bridge to go to a certain beach. Metro and bus stops are also oriented in some cities to segregate people. Some wealthier neighborhoods or areas may not have a metro or bus stop in or around them, preventing people without cars from being able to access that part of the city (28). Some neighborhoods also have one way streets or cul-de-sacs to prevent people from traveling through the neighborhood to get to another location. In addition to the manipulation of road placement, walls are put up around some buildings and communities, completely disallowing anyone to enter who does not live or work there. Gated communities are a good example of this, as they “keep out those who are not expressly allowed in” (25-26). This segregation of classes and races does not allow people to interact and form relationships with everyone, and thus socially and politically restricts the population of the city. Efforts have been made to try to rectify some of these issues, however numerous people, usually the wealthier classes, oppose changing/adding to existing infrastructure or transportation routes because they do not want other people coming into their space. The segregation of races and classes through the built environment is detrimental to our advancement as a society and should be rectified as soon as possible.
Schindler, Sarah. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” Yale Law Journal 124.6 (2015): 1943-2024.