Reading Analysis 6 – Fleming’s Reason

In David Fleming’s book City of Rhetoric, Fleming discusses the purpose for his writing, and illustrates how we have neglected the key issues in this country such as homelessness and poverty. Fleming states how we have forgotten these issues. This is not the first time Fleming has said this. In some of my previous work, I have outlined a previous time when Fleming described our problem (as a society) as mere distraction on other issues.

In Fleming’s book, in his section titled Afterwood, he states in further detail why he decided to write City of Rhetoric. “my point in this book has not been that we should not think globally, that we should not be always intensely aware of the rest of the world and our place in it, both as individuals and as communities” (Fleming). This quote is powerful, because after one reads the book, we can trace back to the examples Fleming has given us in support of his claim. Fleming believes we must look more closely at how our cities are designed and landscaped. We have a responsibility to one another that all of us will have the same opportunities. Issues like the ones Fleming has illustrated to us should never be why people can not prosper and have impacts in their respective communities.

That being said, it will not be an easy task. There are many variables involved when trying to accomplish change such as this. For example, the cost of our international duties has made fixing these problems even more difficult than ever before. As Fleming states, “more and more of an increasingly tight budget must now now be devoted to military spending, foreign aid, and the national defense” (Fleming.) As we can see, everyone including our government must be on board in order to create real change to the issues Fleming describes throughout his work. The simplest way to start is to create awareness and concern throughout the general public. This is why Fleming wrote City of Rhetoric, to start to create that type of change.

 

Work Cited

Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.

Reading Analysis 3 – Fleming and the Separation of Suburbs

In David Fleming’s book City of Rhetoric, Fleming talks about how the suburbs are designed in ways to stay apolitical. They are designed differently than a typical neighborhood or city. This “design” Fleming talks about is the simple fact that they are more privatized than that of a city landscape. Due to this fact, people who live in these suburbs are able to stay out of any political doings.

In Fleming’s work he describes this topic by talking about a suburb in Chicago called Schaumburg. He states that Schaumburg is considered “apolitical” because it is so separated from the politics of Chicago. Places like cities are considered so political, because anyone who lives in a city environment are surrounded by public land and buildings that can be used by everyone. These public spaces help encourage politics, because those who take advantage of these services want to elect politicians who will support them as well. That being said suburban towns have privately owned programs and Institutions (Fleming 106).

Fleming talks about how at one point, inhabitants of the city of Chicago wanted to escape this political cloud and developed this privatized suburb we now know as Schaumburg. The entire reason the suburb was created as so people do not have to associate themselves with politics whatsoever. On top of that, Schaumburg’s schools were nicer than those in the city as they had been built more recently. People saw this new, calmer style of living much more appealing. Fleming ends this section telling us in order to live in a better society we must be able to see this segregation of suburbs as a problem worth taking care of.

Work Cited

Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.

Reading Analysis 5 – Fleming’s Final Thoughts

In David Fleming’s last section of City of Rhetoric, Fleming discusses how we, the reader, can help the development of our cities as well as how residents interact and socialize with one another. Fleming discusses how in recent years the efforts to create more affordable housing in urban areas and suburbs has decreased. He lists many reasons, but it all stems from our fears of our diversity. “We continue, that is, to be afraid of our diversity” (Fleming 213). This fear is due to the more fortunate in a community not wanting to “mix” with others who are less fortunate. 

Another reason Fleming believes these problems have been left for dead was due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place in 2001. “Since after September 11, 2001, problems like urban poverty, suburban sprawl, residential racial segregation, and geographically based income inequality have been pushed almost completely off of the national radar screen” (211). From this quote we can see that Fleming is not connecting the physical act of terrorism to his argument, but he states that due to what happened, many of us forgot about this problem and had pushed it aside for what we all believed to be more a more important issue at the time. On top of that, politicians did not want to spend money on discrimination within societies when problems like the 9/11 attacks were so prevalent. That would not look good on them in the eyes of the public, and when dealing with politicians, they just do whatever they need to in order to get re-elected.

Fleming left us with encouraging words. Even though he believes these issues currently need action they are not receiving, he has hope for the future. “be always mindful of the power of intervention, creation, and change in human life, the opportunity always before us for a better tomorrow” (214). What he is saying is that he believes the generation coming into the workforce now can change these issues. He tells us to never underestimate what we can accomplish as people.

Work Cited

Fleming, David. City of rhetoric: revitalizing the public sphere in metropolitan America. Albany, NY, SUNY Press, 2009.

RA 4 – City of Rhetoric – Importance of Environment

 

The Importance of Environment

In Chapter 8, Part 3 of David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, Fleming argues that we as individuals react to conflict in different ways due to the environments we are accustomed to. Fleming also discusses that the amount of success we have is due to our environment. Every environment has both positives and negatives that can come from it, and according to Fleming each individual environment is shaped by its culture. All of that being said, Fleming believes that cities should be the standard for what every American thinks a good community and culture should be. In any city, cultures clash in a good way. People from all over the world come to reside in one specific area, and these areas are by far the most accepting.

When American’s think of the “american dream,” a picture usually pops up in their head of a house in the suburbs. “unfortunately, our picture of suburbia-for many people the promised land in contemporary America” (Fleming 181). From this quote we can acknowledge that it is true the american dream is seen as quiet life in the small suburb. That is not necessarily a bad thing; however, according to Fleming people that usually live in suburbs do not have that same mindset that people living in cities do. They are sometimes not as accepting. So in order to create commonplaces where acceptance and camaraderie are focal points, then it will be important to change the mindsets of suburban folk to that of a city resident. Having diversity, and being accepting of that diversity is important to create commonplaces where everyone wants to live.

Reading Analysis 2 – Schindler

 

In Sarah Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion, Schindler argues that the built environment around us is constructed in ways to achieve certain political goals. Many people do not stop to think about why our local landscape is designed the way it is. When reading Schindler’s work it is apparent that the civil engineering in small urban communities, as well as large well-known cities, has a deeper meaning than what meets the eye. Segregation,  social exclusion, and economic isolation  are all common reasons why architecture is designed and planned in specific ways.

All throughout history people have been  afraid of change. The thought of cultures mixing in areas certain people have lived in for generations makes communities nervous. According to Schindler, it is thought to believe the construction of communities “can, and is, used to exclude.” Schindler later goes into the topic of “choice architecture” and how there is no such thing as a “neutral design.” This means that everyone who chooses to create has the power to influence what will happen in the future. In the text Schindler gives an example of a cafeteria worker. The example states that the worker might put healthier-food in more visible and accessible areas in order to try and get people to eat healthier and stay away from junk food. We see from this example that civil engineers can also have similar types of power. It is evident from Schindler’s work that the decisions going into the architectural design of our communities has more meaning to it than people think.

 

Schindler, Sarah. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” The Yale Law Journal – Home. N.p., Apr. 2015. Web. 13 Feb. 2017. <http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion>.

Analysis 1 – City of Rhetoric

            In David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, Fleming refers to “republicanism” and “liberalism” more as theories than as the current political parities we know today. As we read Fleming’s work  we come to the realization that government is reflective of the time that it is in, so theories have changed throughout many generations. There are multiple ways people believe we should be governed, and each theory has its pros and cons. When reading City of Rhetoric, I have learned that the theory of republicanism states that “power” comes from the “individual”, and that the most important entity is the small government administered by each individual state. Many believe this way of government is the best suited to live civilly; however, there are potential downsides to this theory. The thought of “small” government can in many ways rely too heavily on the good of the people. The theory of republicanism is interesting, but in many ways different from that of the theory of liberalism.

            The theory of liberalism states that the “power” comes from the citizen, and that the privacy and individual lives of citizens rests above all else. Government should be there in order to keep control of anything that gets in the way of that primary focus. Although Fleming outlines these two theories, we learn from the text that his personal opinions seem to lay elsewhere. He seems to believe that as people we should not be chained down to either of these two theories. As one reads Fleming’s work they might think that the theories he refers to are the ones known in today’s political society; however, it is important that we make the distinction between these theories (republicanism and liberalism) and today’s terminology of republicans and democrats.