RA: Gender Inclusiveity in Design

In her article, “His & Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick explains how today’s landscape is still dominated by a male perspective, and argues designers should help promote change by altering their work.  Tick claims we are now living in a time of a “gender revolution,” however today’s design landscape is still rooted in Modernism that reflects male domination. With more women entering the workplace and achieving positions of power, the author calls for designers to incorporate gender sensitivity into their work.  

To illustrate her point, she brings the example of gender fluidity and addressing the issue of gender inclusivity.  Tick points to the new trend of gender neutral bathrooms as a step towards designers starting to address this issue.  Even though bathrooms are only part of the puzzle, they work towards making people feel accommodated in a public space.

In conclusion the author calls for society to design for the accumulation of different human beings so we can create environments where people can “have their own individuality.

This are pictures the author added into her article for a visual representation of what gender inclusive design could look like.

Works Cited

Tick, Suzanne. “His & Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society.Metropolis, 15 Feb. 2017. Accessed 1 May 2017.

 

A New Sociospatial Dialectic

In chapter eight of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming argues that different environments in which people live are a key factor in influencing individuals opportunities and thus their participation in public life.  To prove this claim, Fleming provides indirect and direct examples of where the place in which people live determines their behavior.  One example Fleming includes is proximity to jobs.  Those who are geographically close to job opportunities are more likely to be employed and keep the job.  However, research shows that “the fastest growing locations for low-skilled jobs in this country tend to be the low income adults that would benefit from them.”  A close proximity to job betters one’s opportunities and abilities to develop civic skills, however due to their location groups of people are placed at a disadvantage (187).  Fleming states that the quality and character of neighborhood schools is the most important factor for the development of civic capacities.  He supports this by saying residence patterns stratified by race and class has created inferior school systems.  This difference in quality of education for different groups of people affects the distribution of civic abilities and opportunities (189). Fleming argues that the landscape of contemporary North America is segregated by race and class.  This segregation perpetuates people’s inabilities to develop rhetorical skills and participate in civic life because there is a lack of communication between these communities.  In conclusion to his chapter Fleming calls for humans to create “strong publics” by evenly distributing opportunities into communities that are geographically disadvantaged.  Fleming claims the solution to the issues raised in this chapter is to create more commonplaces where diverse people can connect with one another (191).

 

Works Cited

Fleming, David. “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialectic.” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2009. 179-194. Print.

RA: Ghetto

 

In chapter four of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming explains how American Ghettos were intentionally created and used to systematically oppress racial or ethnic groups through the example of African Americans in Chicago.  Chicago is used to illustrate Flemings arguments because the city’s “extreme spatial manifestation of [its socio economic] subjugation” makes it a prime example of an American Ghetto (65).  

Fleming explains how Chicago’s segregation was intentional by describing it’s ghetto’s formation.  In the 1800’s slaves travelling on the Underground Railroad formed a neighborhood on the South branch of the Chicago River, however racist attitudes discouraged them from moving into white neighborhoods in the North, East and West parts of the city.  By 1908, a group called the “Improvement Club” was created to keep African Americans confined the South Side by petitioning for segregated schools and blacklisting real estate agencies that allowed black residents move into white neighborhoods. Their efforts resulted in African Americans increasingly confined to areas where housing conditions were poor, in what is called “the black belt” (68-69).  

Fleming then uses different events in history to illustrate how the city’s ghettos were utilized to isolate and oppress African Americans. During The Great Migration following World War I,  Chicago’s black population more than doubled during this time as farmers in the South moved north to fill industry jobs created by the war.  Chicago’s African American population dramatic increase caused white residents to fear an overflow of the black belt into their neighborhoods. This resulted in attacks on the black population including destruction of their homes and businesses.  Not only did white violence keep the increasing black population confined, but Chicago’s Real Estate Board created covenants restricting African Americans from moving into white neighborhoods (73).  A similar migration of African Americans to Chicago occurred after World War II.  However, a building boom allowed for middle class white families to move to the suburbs.  This dramatic shift in demographics allowed for the black belt to expand West and further South resulting in what is called “the second ghetto” (75).  Fleming argues that although the size of the ghetto increased, the black population remained segregated due to white violence, urban renewal, and public housing.  By the late 1960’s there was a massive decrease in manufacturing jobs resulting in severe underemployment in Chicago’s ghettos and increasing poverty.  As these areas deteriorated, middle class African Americans fled.  By the mid 1990’s Chicago’s ghettos were a site of extreme poverty (87).

 The history of Chicago’s ghettos illustrate how racism drove residents and policy makers to isolate and confine African American populations, and economic changes in the country restricted these people’s socioeconomic mobility resulting in a cycle of poverty.

 

Works Cited

Fleming, David. “Ghetto.” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2009. 65-90. Print.

AB: Primary Source

Wheeler, Linda. “Teen Accused of Ordering O Street Market Shooting.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27 Sept. 1994, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

 

In her Washington Post article “Teen Accused of Ordering O Street Market Shooting,” Linda Wheeler reports that seventeen year old Kevin Aaron McCrimmon was arrested for ordering the O Street Market shooting.  The article was written six months after the shooting, and explores possible motives concluding it was a result of gang retaliation.  Wheeler provides and account of the events of the shooting, including the time it took place and who was injured.  The article does not offer any opinions or testimonies, but provides the reader with a clear sequence of events and quotes from McCrimmon’s arrest warrant.

This primary source article can be used as an exhibit source to provide evidence for the past conditions of the neighborhood my site is in.  This significant event that took place at my site can be analyzed through this source, and then compared to present day Shaw.  

The Market on O Streets Transformation

Fisher, Marc. “O Street Market: Symbol of Violence Becomes a Marker for D.C.’s Resurgence.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Nov. 2013, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

 

In his Washington Post article “O Street Market: Symbol of Violence Becomes a Marker for D.C.’s Resurgence” Marc Fisher recalls the events of the O Street Market shooting on March 31st 1994 in Washington DC, and then describes the markets transformation in recent years. Fisher first explains how the district was once rampant with drug and gun violence, and the O Street Market became a symbol of urban decay after the shooting.  The article then jumps to present day, and Fisher describes the market’s restoration into expensive condominiums and a Giant supermarket.  In the remainder of the article, Fisher gathers opinions and concerns about the implications of the new developments from residents, developers and shop owners in the area.  

I plan to use this article as a background source to provide information on how my site has transformed in recent years.  In addition to describing my sites transformation, I can use the source to provide testimonies on the effect of these changes from people connected to the site.  This source will allow me to explore how my site connects to the built environment shaping human behavior.

Feil, Ken. The exterior of the O Street Market at the intersection of 7th and O streets, NW in Washington, DC.  The Washington Post, August 31, 1978.

I will be able to use this image provided in the article to show how the O Street Market looked before its restoration.

RA: Exclusion in the Built Environment

Reading Analysis of “Architectural Exclusion”

In her article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment,” Sara Schindler argues the theory that architecture itself regulates human behavior.  In the first part of her article Schindler introduces the term “architectural exclusion” meaning that the build environment is often designed to discriminate against certain groups of people.  The author claims that infrastructure placement contributes to economic and social inequality, however these acts of discrimination is largely ignored by lawmakers and judges (1940).  

Schindler supports her argument by providing examples that illustrate how certain features of our built environment can control and constrain human behavior.  One example she uses is the intentional design of park benches with three seats. She explains that park benches in major cities have multiple arm rests to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them (1942).  The design of the benches serve a second function of controlling people’s behavior although it may not initially seem that way to the unsuspecting person.

 The theory that Schindler proposes in her article is important to understand because it shows how discrimination is happening today.  Lawmakers and judges craft and enforce anti-discrimination laws, but ignore how the built environment is used to discriminate.  The public is lead to think that the layout of infrastructure is created with the purpose of efficiency, without realizing how these designs are excluding groups of people (1950).

(Image found on Central Park Conservancy)

Here is a picture of the bench Schindler describes located in New York City.

RA: Why Space Matters

In his book “City of Rhetoric” David Fleming argues the physical space in which we live is increasingly ignored in political theory; however, it is essential to understanding individual differences of those living in the same community and addressing collective problems such as inequality.  Fleming explains that although humans are often divided by differences such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity, we are brought together because we all have to inhabit a mutual space. However, the new ability to communicate and travel great distances easily, has caused many to claim political rights across the globe.  This interconnection has caused humans to believe we are less dependent on places, and built environments are unimportant (24).  

Republicanism and Liberalism are two main traditions of modern political thought that illustrate how humans views on space has changed.  Republicanism advocates for a small community with face to face interaction, and in contrast liberalism calls for laws and procedures with no attention location or space (29).  With advancing technology and globalization, public life has become more fractured and decentralized continuing the trend of political life becoming “spaceless.” Fleming argues that the placelessness of contemporary thinking has “blinded us to the fragmentation, degradation, and polarization of the spaces around us both natural and built” (32).  The fragmentation and polarization that Fleming describes has created an intensification of inequality in the world we inhabit.  Without a physical space to connect with one another and the environment, humans will become more isolated and separated from one another perpetuating social inequality.  

Fleming concludes that “commonplaces” in the built environment can help solve the issues of fragmentation and polarization that he describes. These commonplaces will create a space for people with diverse backgrounds to have a dialogue about inequality, and create solidarity within communities (35).

Works Cited

Fleming, David. “The Placelessness of Political Theory.” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2009. 19-35. Print.