A Commonplace for the Post-Gender Society

Suzanne Tick, the author of “His and Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” proposes that “Identity is no longer clearly defined as female or male, but by increasingly visible manifestations of sexuality or lack thereof.” Therefore, society, designers and all, must work to become more flexible with terms of gender identity and expression because gender is becoming less defined. As this is happening, there needs to be a growing commonplace, a place of respect and acceptance, for the genderless in society from fashion to bathrooms to the workplace. Tick reiterates this need by explaining that, “Making people feel accommodated—whether it’s in a public space or office—parallels the bigger conversation about universal design.” Thus, this universal design becomes a commonplace for greater discourse and “inclusivity” for all genders or lack thereof as time progresses.

Works Cited

Tick, Suzanne. “His and Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society.” Metropolis. 20 March 2015, https://via.hypothes.is/http://www.metropolismag.com/ideas/his-hers-designing-for-a-post-gender-society/.

Link to image:

“Visualizing Gender Identity: Binaries, Spectrum and More.” Pinterest, user: castielshappyplace, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/531354456014254688/

The Collapse of Housing Redevelopment

David Fleming discusses the end of the redevelopment era due to a shift in politics during the end of the 1990s and the continuation of polarization in society based on identity. But Fleming reiterates:

“As I have tried to suggest here, considering more carefully our metropolitan lives together and thinking more creatively about our civic responsibilities to one another is not about is not about simply shifting our shifting our political allegiance from one public to another, from the globe or nation-state to the city or urban district; it is rather about developing and protecting the full and multilayered set of publics in which we are always already embedded” (212).

     Fleming’s intentions are to explain that personal politics should not take away from interpersonal relationships or from divisions between certain areas within a city, state, or town, because their are responsibilities to each citizen as a human. Therefore, maintaining the common set of discourses and ability to understand the layers of identities of which people are, and to create commonplaces from what people have already have based on identity, equates to bridging the gap between all people.

With the continuing inability to diversify neighborhoods or improve upon the urban developments, the diversity continues to struggle and commonplaces do not exist. This results in lack of representation and lack of power and lack of voice for many minorities.

Within Chicago, many of the housing programs have ended, as the results have not been garnered. Fleming called it “free movement” of societies as the resulting communities but also elaborated on how the neighborhoods ended up polarized (214). He proposed that the initial unnatural environments cause these issues of polarization rather than a commonplace. But, even after all the trouble of creating a built commonplace, he remains hopeful of a future where people will continue to resist the shift by which political motives attempt to remove them from specific locations and continue to learn about the issues affecting their community.

In the end, Chicago has created an all new housing plan to replace the old.

Commonplaces Lead to Diverse Discourse

David Fleming, author of City of Rhetoric, argues that, for the future to change the past mistakes of the built environment and public discourse, “we benefit, I believe, from occasionally denaturalizing what otherwise appears innocent to us, make the world more open to our reflections, criticisms, and proposals for a change” (184). To Fleming, this would be changing the “sociospatial dialectic” towards one that promotes healthier interactions between people by creating commonplaces in these communities (180). In the previous chapters, Fleming presented what groups of people and various communities relate to each other when they are living closely together and, contrastingly, when then are segregated, both which lead to issues in social discourse.

To change the “sociospatial dialectic” issues that Fleming outlined previously, he proposes that we must “[recognize] the negative effects of those phenomena,” (“those phenomena” implying “decentralization, fragmentation, and polarization” that plague the cities by finding more commonplaces) so that people can have a voice and that voice can be heard (184). Since, according to Fleming, “segregation impedes communication,” creating commonplaces will provide a desegregated space that allows for participation from all members of a community rather than a select few (191).

Although it is difficult to change the culture of the environment that people live in or influence the culture of the community, free and open communication remains key to improving the situation. As a result, these commonplaces work to focus on equality and freedom as long as these commonplaces and their coinciding commonplaces create opportunity for those living there (191).


Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric. Ithaca, US: SUNY Press, 2008. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 21 March 2017. http://site.ebrary.com/lib/wrlc/reader.action?docID=10575977

The Conflicts of “New Urbanism”

David Fleming, author of the City of Rhetoric, a book that discusses the urban environment and its relationship to the population, argues that, “Despite all the talk here of equality, interspersal, and unity, these plans are clearly biased, I would argue, towards the interests of high-income residents: those with the money, the mobility, and the agency to choose where they will live in the metropolitan area,” in response to Chicago’s plan to rehabilitate the area of the city known as Cabrini Green to create an economically diverse community (141). In theory, the new and rehabilitated residential site would help reduce crime in the area, to make it safer for all residents but, as Fleming proposed, it would be catered to the upper class and those residents with more money.

Therefore, all of the decisions to be made in this community would be based on the choices and decisions of the richer residents, despite the moves to create a more equal environment between classes. Fleming argued that the poorer residents do not have a choice to where they will live, and in this new development, they are placed into an environment that they cannot afford, since the environment would grow to be more expensive as the markets shift. In contrast, upper class people have the ability to choose their home and make their own decisions- not being dictated by the lack of money or stress of choosing a home that they can afford. Along the same lines, poorer people are also forced to move around depending on what other richer folk decide to do to their housing. The entire rehabilitation project could displace families.

In conclusion, the results of this endeavor are varied. So far the housing plan has been successful but the author believes it will ultimately lead to the displacement of the original Cabrini Green residents “based on an unrealistic dream of social harmony” (148). Therefore, interpreting David Fleming’s argument, I would propose that Fleming is conveying the idea that diverse and harmonious communities cannot be artificially created, because what results is gentrification. This method of the Urban Village demonstrates the “pioneering spirit” of rich, white people (142).

Interesting articles on the “redevelopment” AKA gentrification of Chicago:


Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric. Ithaca, US: SUNY Press, 2008. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 21 March 2017. http://site.ebrary.com/lib/wrlc/reader.action?docID=10575977

The Systematic Oppression of Architecture and Design

The systematic oppression of architecture and design of cities increases racial prejudices by keeping people separated by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Sarah Schindler, author of Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment, reintroduces the idea of the systematic oppression, stating, that “throughout history, people have used varied methods to exclude undesirable individuals from places where they are not wanted” (1942). The architecture was used as a new method, rather than laws or other restrictions, to manage the cities and determine the desired population.

One of the few ways that Schindler examines this motion is how the cities are designed to keep certain people from being able afford to purchase certain homes or property there. The cities are also constructed in a way that specifically changes traffic to reduce the movement of certain people in specific areas of the city. This is a way to keep neighborhoods free of foot traffic by removing sidewalks. Additionally, changing bus routes or even removing them from certain parts of a city keeps people from being able to use the bus system or from being able to reach work in those parts (1938). This ultimately removes them from the neighborhood, to one where they can reach work and to where the bus routes will take them. These designs are typically found in suburbs (1937).

The decisions of the architects and city designers contributes to the division of society while building on racial prejudice. The racial bias is deemed by the continuing oppression of folks who are not white and are not of upper/middle class or higher income. It keeps people stuck in a cycle that supports the segregation of society on the basis of racial bias. People’s struggles are found to be their own fault and their problem while in actuality they are put into that position by the architects of the city and by society. When cities are constructed in specific ways they are purposefully maintaining and monitoring the struggles of these people- playing god, if you will. When society is able to reduce this systematic oppression, to look past the stereotypes of race and socioeconomic status, only then will the cities be able to become more integrated and diverse.

The Individuality of the “The Citizen” Creates the “Placelessness” of Political Theory

In his book, City of Rhetoric, author, David Fleming discusses the recognition of the individuality of each citizen because they make up the entirety of society. As a result, they predict the politics of the city and contribute to the theory of placelessness of politics. Flemming proposes that, “To pretend that race, class, and gender are irrelevant, or that one is “blind” to them, is often just a way to favor those who allegedly have no race, class, age, sexual orientation, or gender — that is, white, middle-class, middle-aged, heterosexual men” (21). Flemming implies that ignoring inherent differences between individuals leads to the assumption of equality but not the actions of equality.

Consequently, this is typically known by the phrase as being “color blind,” where the advantaged groups (predominantly white men) erase the identity of marginalized groups (21). The differences in each human are their defining characteristics that make up their entire being- from how they are raised to how they see the world and to how the world sees them. Acknowledging these differences in each person is essential to the growth of society as they determine where society struggles and where it is strengthened.

In the same way, an example of when the differences between people are not recognized, results in political movements like“All Lives Matter.” The “All Lives Matter” group was created in response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement because they did not agree that one group of persons should be singled out in importance. They, “All Lives Matter,” are blind to the persecutions that black people still face in America today. “All Lives Matter” ignores the struggles of black people and the crimes against them and creates a movement that surrounds white people, who do not face racial bias or hate crimes at all. At no point in the “Black Lives Matter” movement was it stated that only black lives matter or that other lives do not.

The “Black Lives Matter” movement clarifies that there are crimes against black people and that they deserve to have the same treatment as white people. And if “All Lives Matter” was originally created to be a support group for all lives they would have agreed to support black people and other minorities. It is ignorant to think that all people face the same issues and struggles when they definitely do not. Thus, this movement emphasizes the importance of recognizing human differences and diversity.

To summarize, if everyone were equal, as some like to believe, there would not be a need for legislature to finally declare equality and freedoms among minorities. This is specifically seen in everlasting fight of Roe v. Wade, the recent win of marriage equality, the Voting Rights Act, and with desegregation of public places. Especially in political terms, people are always treated differently. Fleming clarifies that, based on the statement made by National Standards for Civics and Government (1994), “the identity of an American citizen is defined by shared political values and principles,” this fact is not true (20). Characteristics of “ethnicity, race, religion, class, language, gender, or national origin” derive perspectives and positions on political issues (20). All these individuals make up the community and are, ultimately, the constituents.

Many different perspectives and lives lived changes political views, votes, and concerns for each citizen. Each citizen adds to the placelessness of political theory because each person is so unique in their identity and concerns. The people create the place where politics happen.

Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric. Ithaca, US: SUNY Press, 2008. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 4 February 2017.