In his final City of Rhetoric chapter, author David Fleming argues that it is extremely difficult to design environments that are conducive to human flourishing. Even though there is difficulty in such task, humans still keep trying. Through his exploration of these environments, Fleming briefly states, “But designing for people is not just about ensuring decent housing for the poor and disadvantaged; it is about designing for human beings in general. After all, we all have bodies; and none of those bodies, I would argue, is well served by the way we currently organize our sociospatial environment” (197). Ultimately, Fleming believes that various members within communities are at an a disadvantage, not everyone is being catered to, and argues that these built environments have created issues of displacement.
Within this chapter, Fleming continuous to investigate this idea of of rhetorical space, or in this case “public spheres”. Even though achieving public spheres is possible, Fleming also acknowledges the difficulties associated with it. Fleming explains that “Designing such spaces means acknowledging, however, that each of us belongs to multiple publics at once; and that “publicity” can never be reduced to a single place, procedure, or criterion. People need access to a whole network of layered and interconnected publics to represent the many groups of which they are members, all (ideally) democratically governed to one degree or another (199). Basically, acknowledging individuality and a creating a more inclusive will further progress within public spheres. Not only is Fleming encouraging inclusivity, but he is requesting people to accept one another’s differences and similarities, which can dismantle this idea of community displacement.
Chicago gentrification protest
As well, Fleming mentions there are three setback that are contribute to community displacement and are enacting as barriers for public spheres. The first setback is that “Americans consistently privilege mobility over stability (Fleming 203). He explains that this is catering on an economic standpoint, but less on bridging community gaps. The second barrier mentioned within this chapter is political position and self interest. Fleming explains, “To sustain a more broad-based public sphere, we need to learn to speak a language in which political positions are by definition relational, and the general interest is as compelling a value in our debates and deliberations as self-interest” (203). Working on connecting interests and political stances will help bridge community separatism. Lastly, the third setback deals with language and linguistic comprehension. Basically, addressing communication skills and urges communities to work on uniting. Fleming believes these barriers do create community separatism, but are possible to overcome.
Throughout this chapter Fleming addresses the possible and current setbacks within community displacement, which is interesting to read in this time period. Gentrification is growing more and more, especially within tight-knit communities. These changes can negatively affect people and cause social rifts. Fleming’s book introduces probable reasons for why communities are disconnected. Working on accepting, appreciating, and respecting individuality can help with bridging community displacement. Building on those can help with providing a more sustainable “public sphere”.
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY, 2008. Print.