American University College Writing 101 Spring 2017

Reading Analysis 2: “Architectural Exclusion”

In her journal article “Architectural Exclusion,” Sarah Schindler argues that built communities often include certain design elements ment to discriminate against certain groups of people. For example, a lack of a sidewalk keeps people from walking through neighborhoods, and a lack of bus stops and metro stations limits access for poor families and low-income individuals who rely on public transportation.

Part one of Schindler’s work focuses on the theory behind architectural regulation and how it has evolved from legal action (official laws and codes) to physical blocks. She writes, “The built environment does serve to regulate human behavior and is an important form of extra-legal regulation” (1944). Schindler firmly believes that although laws segregating communities were eradicated many years ago, the same ideas are still being employed today through the architecture created back then and still now.

In Part 2, she explains how one way streets can be used to usher people in and out of areas, creating a specific flow. Schindler’s example is two neighborhoods in Baltimore: one, a wealthy, white community; the other, a low income, predominantly African-American neighborhood. There aren’t many roads between the two neighborhoods to begin with, save for a few odd one-way streets heading in the direction of the lower-income area. This keeps it very hard for people from that side of town to access the upper-class neighborhood. Another example is a lack of street signs to keep outsiders from coming in because they don’t know their way around and become confused.

In her “Architectural Exclusion,” Schindler explains why certain communities are still segregated despite the abolition of racist laws and codes. The communities are still very separated, and it’s because of the physical borders that were built for that reason.



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