October 24, 2016
Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment
In part one of this article, Schindler argues that racial barriers exist in urban settings. She describes to us how architecture can be used to exclude certain people. In this analysis, I am going to analyze the way in which she is able to persuade us of her beliefs.
Example of physical barriers TYPE A
Schindler tells us that the highways divide into two neighborhoods making it more likely that people from one side won’t need to drive through the other side to get home thereby creating a divide/ a barrier. She states that having easy access to a central town square would indirectly create more barriers between neighborhoods due to the fact that there is a central meeting spot that’s open to everyone, but only in that neighborhood. No one would need to go into different neighborhoods. This is a discrete way of putting up racial barriers because many people would not immediately assume that highways, such a common mode of transportation every day, would be a method of racial exclusion. Having a town square is so common as well, which makes it harder for the general public to see the presence of racial exclusion unless it is pointed out as Schindler does in this article.
Example of physical barriers TYPE B
To convince us of this she provides us with examples such as: transit methods and traffic rules. She states that cities use traffic blockades is to mold traffic patterns, but they are also there to keep people from driving down certain streets. Schindler goes on to say that public transportation is there to prevent specific people from accessing places. For example, she writes, the placement of the transit stops plays a role. Low-income people and people of color rely on public transportation, but have a harder time reaching it due to its location. Another example is the placement of the highway, bridge exits, and road infrastructure filter traffic away from wealthy communities. One way streets, dead ends, and confusing signage are also aspects that contribute to the exclusion of certain people. Schindler adds in a quote from Clowney, “landscape is one of the most overlooked instruments of modern race making.” This quote helps back up her viewpoint about architectural exclusion.
Schindler is able to convince us that physical, structural, and agricultural barriers in urban settings are actually ways to exclude people such as people of color and low-income people from getting to certain places. She gives so many detailed examples that convince us. Schindler makes us believe that even if we don’t see public fences that say “keep out” and road signs saying “people of color” “white race”, it doesn’t mean racial barriers aren’t there. This is important for us to know so that we can be made aware of our surroundings and the true motivations behind certain things we use and see daily.