In her Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment, author Sarah Schindler explores discrimination amongst people of different ethnic and class groups. Ultimately, Schindler argues that laws and regulations placed within certain communities restrict minorities from moving forward. Not only do laws and regulations enact as barriers, but architectural buildings and structures are key influences to setbacks within these communities. Thus, alluding to the idea of systematic and manipulation oppression.
Throughout this article, Schindler tries to convince the reader that architecture is a major influence when pertaining to negative societal environments. Schindler argues this with examples such as Robert Moses’ Long Island bridges. Moses is known for building and designing low rise bridges designated for overpasses, which initially make buses and large vehicles challenging to pass. Schindler states, “Moses’s biographer suggests that his decision to favor upper-and middle-class white people who owned cars at the expense of the poor and African-Americans was due to his “social-class bias and racial prejudice” (1953). The low rise bridges were originally designated to create racial and lower income minorities limited access.
One of Robert Moses’ Long Island Bridges
Moses’ bridge is a clear example of how not only systematic oppression and manipulation is within laws and regulations, but buildings and architecture can also create negative societal influences and oppression. Minorities are clearly the target within societal physical structures such as basic bridge structures, which are creating limited access among communities. Architectural influence is far more influential than one might think. Schindler’s argument is important, because societal environment and architectural influence is physically more present amongst communities compared to systematic laws in placed. Moss was able to manipulate the system and create a divide between races and classes and lawmakers limited efforts dismantling this form of discrimination. Thus, these limited efforts created division and oppression amongst minorities.
Sarah Schindler. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The Yale Law Review, 2015, 1937–2023.