Throughout history, people have constructed cities and social norms in such ways which discriminate against undesired groups and make it very hard for them to access the other side of town. In her article “Architectural Exclusion” Sarah Schindler exemplifies the apparently hidden, yet obvious, role that architectural and design play in the behavior of people in a space. At first, Schindler addresses the seemingly obvious role architecture plays by giving us an example where a park bench has armrests, which serve to keep homeless people from sleeping on public benches. However, she then describes that basic geographical and planning scholars do not express concern about architectural importance in the exclusion of groups in a space. Schindler then tells us how obvious the role of exclusion is in the circle of legal scholars. For example, she quotes legal scholar Lawrence Lessig when he writes about a situation where a highway divides two neighbourhoods. Although subtle and not easily noticed, the role architecture plays in exclusion is well known between many legal scholars and authorities.
An example of exclusion through architecture is the well-known island of Manhattan. In the city of New York, there are three boroughs which surround Manhattan. These three boroughs, Brooklyn,Queens,and Bronx have a high population of minorities which work at low-income/skill jobs and create a lot of crime. In order to separate these minorities from the scholars and skillful people, Manhattan was made to not be easily accessed. Having less than 10 bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan and the other three boroughs, people in each borough would think twice about getting on a train or buying a car to travel to the island. Therefore, the deficit of connecting bridges or tunnels exclude people from the other three boroughs from entering the island of Manhattan.
Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. http://www.yalelawjournal.org/article/architectural-exclusion. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.