The final chapter in David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, is entitled “The Afterword”. In this chapter, Fleming puts together his last few thoughts by explaining that although public and low-income housing has lost importance in the public sphere as of late, he still believes it to be a major topic of concern. Throughout Fleming’s book, he discusses many ways in which we have inaccurately come up with solutions to the problems which come along with common areas and low-income housing, such as decentralization, fragmentation, sand polarization. However, he doesn’t want the reader to leave with a sense of defeat. Fleming believes that although the separation of the classes in America may contribute to the lack of discussion around cohabitation of space, the youth of today keep him hopeful. That being said, issues such as urban poverty, suburban sprawl, residential racial segregation, and geographically based income inequality need to again be brought to the forefront of public conversation. Fleming also wants to reiterate in this chapter, that he does not want these public conversations to be centered around only America, but rather around the whole world. He believes that its very important to consider America’s relationship with the rest of the world. Social and economic inequality is an issue which people face all over the world, and the “solutions” which are being suggested remain “individualistic and private” (212). In other words, the solutions are often said to lie in the involvement of private enterprises and companies rather than the public as a whole, or even the government. Yet, as seen in places such as the North Town Village in Chicago, these projects rarely change anything, “metropolitan inequality in Chicago, and elsewhere in the United States, persists and even grows” (213). David Fleming’s hope with this book is to start a dialog around these issues, which will hopefully raise awareness as well as generate ideas to begin to solve these issues.
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.
The Geography Behind Politics
David Fleming’s second chapter of his City of Rhetoric, entitled “The Placelessness of Political Theory”, attempts to address the what exactly defines one political boundaries. When defining the geography of politics and political theory, the first aspect to take into consideration would be the citizens themselves. Do politics and the laws/programs associated with it pertain only to a certain type of person, i.e. black, Christian, female, etcetera? David Fleming would say that is rarely the case, and rather politics is organized around certain geographical regions and shared common values. Rather than requiring all people under certain politics to share a certain skin color or religion, we typically ask that they instead share similar political views, such as agreeing to uphold a country’s Constitution. By doing this, we hope to create an “equal playing field” of sorts, that everyone can go into regardless of religion, race, class, gender, age, or sexual orientation. However, Fleming argues that those differences are actually an important and somewhat essential part of our society. In his own words, “democracy is thus inevitably about drawing boundaries around a group of humans who are equal to one another but superior, at least in certain respects, to outsiders” (22). Fleming goes on to talk about the two main types of political thought, republicanism and liberalism. Both centered around the “claim to be democratic and to support self-governing communities constituted by their members’ freedom and equality” (27), yet approaching this goal in fundamentally different ways. Liberalism is much more centered around the individual, while republicanism is dependent on everyone acting as a whole, at least according to Fleming. He closes this chapter discussing what he refers to as “commonplaces”, areas that link us to one another yet also allow us to be unique individuals. Fleming believes that these areas are essential for any sort of prosperous political system, and can be achieved.
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2009. Print.
The Lack of Academia Concerning Segregation Through Architecture
In “Part One” of Sarah Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment she establishes a fundamental understanding of the negative effect which infrastructure has on social inequality and socioeconomic segregation. Additionally, Schindler explains that the current understanding surrounding infrastructure’s effect on segregation is very elementary. Professor Schindler makes repeated reference to external texts which brush upon the topic of architectural exclusion, but fail to thoroughly examine the topic as she feels necessary. For Professor Schindler, the built environment is a fundamental aspect of minority/ lower-class suppression- a suppression which has existed for decades. Schindler is not the first scholar to address the idea of architecture’s effect on segregation, and she acknowledges this fact herself. However, she is one of the first to pursue it in such detail. One element discouraging in-depth analysis of this subject is the very definition of “regulation” in respect to architecture, since “the built environment does not fit within the definition of ‘regulation’ as legal scholars traditionally employ the term”. Yet many do acknowledge that a city’s infrastructure does have an effect upon social inequality, exclusion, and isolation, but not in as great of detail as the topic truly deserves. In “Part 1, Section B” Schindler continues to explain that “while these authors offer compelling explorations of spatial organization’s ability to exclude and culturally marginalize, their critiques have not yet penetrated the mainstream of land-use or civil-rights law”. Regulation by architecture is more difficult to identify and quantify than outright-legal bylaws, which helps contribute to the lack of in-depth analysis surrounding the topic. Although Schindler does mention various small examples of architectural exclusion in “Part One” of her study, the main focus is more to establish the groundwork for the upcoming material, and the lack of preexisting analysis.
Snapshot. http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion. Accessed 25 Feb. 2017.