October 24, 2016
Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment
In Part III of this article, Schindler tell us the way in which law had historically been used to exclude certain people in an obvious way and then how today there are laws that have the same effect, but are not obvious.
Beginning of essay decides historical laws that no longer exist such as “racial zoning” and we can see from her writing that she is not in favor of it. Atlanta enacted racial zoning: made each block designated to a race so to, “‘prevent too close association of the races, which association results, or tends to result, in breaches of peace, immorality, and danger to the health’”. Schindler tells us that at the time, this was a common practice, but to her, it was blatantly racist.
Additionally, she describes racially restrictive covenants which were another historic way to keep minorities out of specific neighborhoods by limiting what homeowners can do with their property. For example, in certain neighborhoods homeowners were not able to sell their homes to anyone other than a white person. Schindler tells us that courts made this restrictive covenants legal and hard to challenge due to the covenants becoming institutionalized and internalized. Contradicting the courts, she decides how many legal scholars at the time were opposed to the legalization of racially restrictive covenants. She then describes that in 1948, the court decided that this legalization could not be enforced. Her viewpoint is against racially restrictive covenants and her arguments are persuasive as we can see how blatantly racist these laws were.
This part of the article conc;udes how some current laws many have exclusions effects that are not obvious. She analyzes different types of laws such as square-footage minimums for buildings, occupancy restrictions making it impossible for poor people to purchase property. Schindler states that race and class have a very high correlation therefore if exclusionary zoning is thought to target poor people, they are arguably targeting people of color as well. She makes it apparent to us that some who support exclusionary zoning are motivated to preserve property values but as said before, with that motivation, it can be inferred that their motivations are similar to those in support of racial zoning. It is unclear to us about whether Schindler is for or against exclusionary zoning. She quotes Lawrence Gene Sager to further explain her thoughts on the issue, “…to exclude the poor may have been enacted with exactly that purpose in mind; it is also entirely possible in any given instance that no exclusionary intent was involved”. However she states that it is still not hard to find evidence of racial discrimination within exclusionary zoning, the court just hasn’t tried.