Solutions to Architectural Exclusion

Exclusion by the first amendment: Freedom of speech

In the context of exclusionary techniques used by cities and towns, it may be beneficial for them to rethink their exclusionary infrastructure in order for a economical gain. In her “Architectural Exclusion”, Sarah Schindler describes ways to alleviate the harms of existing architectural exclusion and ways to prevent it in the future. Beginning with an incentive for city legislators and local governments, Schindler proposes a change in the design of a city in order to provide more jobs and promote the travel to a city or town. She continues with possible solutions which she then evaluates in the present reality to show how probable they actual are. Excluding judicial solutions due to ambiguity of legislation, Schindler then turns to the root of legislation: Federal, State, and local elected officials. Moreover, she turns to administrators who conduct a detailed environmental review to expand their review in order to consider the project’s impacts on the exclusion of certain underrepresented groups. In addition, Schindler pressures legislatures to construct an act similar to the Disabilities Act in which individuals with disabilities are accommodated in order to experience normal civic life.

Although few,  legislators have indeed taken into account the effect of architectural exclusion and prohibited its existence. On February 11, 1994, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898: “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.” The order basically called attention to low-income environments and urged federal agents to attend to their effect on the minority community. It required federal agencies to adopt strategies which address environmental justice concerns within the context of the respective agency operations. Although non-binding and moderately effective,  the order showed the issue which Schindler presents was acted on by a president; consequently showing that the issue of architectural exclusion is not invisible.

Works Citied:

Arthur Totten, Bill Dickerson. NEPA Executive Order 12898. Accessed 1 May 2017.


Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

Law as a factor in Architectural Exclusion

Village of Arlington Heights Homes

Throughout history, law has been used to exclude certain undesirable members of a community from certain parts of the community. In her article “Architectural Exclusion” Sarah Schindler has noted that courts and legislators have often seen architecture and design as ambivalent in the context of excluding individuals from certain areas of a built environment. She starts out with examples of racial zoning and racially restrictive covenants which the courts disapproved of to show that at least some form of exclusion was not tolerable. However, Schindler goes on to describe a method of exclusionary zoning, where municipalities have a minimum square footage and a minimum lot size to make homes unaffordable for poor people and minorities. For example, she extends her argument to the supreme court and quotes their opinion on such a matter explaining that the court required the plaintiff to have intentional discrimination in order to show strict scrutiny. Moreover, legal scholars have touched on this sort of exclusion and have found it hard to prove intentional discrimination, therefore proving the ambiguity that the courts present in the context of this matter.  

In many court cases throughout history, methods of exclusionary zoning have been tried but to no avail. In the court case “Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp,” the Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation sued for  declaratory relief. Moreover, it claimed that the denial of rezoning was discriminatory in nature and violated the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the Fair Housing Act of 1968. However, the Supreme Court held that the corporation failed to prove that discriminatory purpose as a factor in the zoning of the village and therefore remanded the case. Finally proving that lawmakers and housing authorities have found loopholes around the law in order to discriminate against certain individuals.


Works Citied:

Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. Accessed 12 Feb. 2017.

Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp | Casebriefs – Part 2. Accessed 1 May 2017.

Practice of Architectural Exclusion


Jewish segragation in Europe

Authorities of municipalities have used a number of exclusionary techniques that have a purpose to keep certain people out of areas. In her “Architectural Exclusion”, Sarah Schindler touches on the specific technique of physical barriers, which several different groups of legal authority use to exclude people. Schindler begins with the fact that several law officials and authorities collaborate with architects and engineers to loop around the law to make it physically difficult for people to access certain locations. For example, architect Robert Moses was quoted on his idea to restrict buses 12 feet and higher from accessing certain bridges from Long Island to Jones beach. Moreover, Schindler explains that this way the architect used physical barriers to restrict people who use public transportation to access Jones beach. Furthermore, Schindler goes on to provide examples of transit stops, highway placements, and street designs to explain how these authorities barricade places from certain people. Ultimately, Schindler shows us how architects and law officials collaborate in order to create subtle barriers which separate people.

This kind of exclusion is not only present in modern times, but also in the history of built environments. According to Professor Monika Richarz, she writes in her article about jews living in Europe in the 19th century and being utterly segregated. She tells us that not only were the jews not allowed to trade and lend money, but also they were prohibited by leaving their community during certain times of the day. For example, she writes that in Tsarist Russia jews were sentenced to live in certain barricaded areas which were like present day ghettos. Looking closely at the issue of exclusion through architecture it becomes more and more evident in the context of undesired individuals.  
Works Citied:

Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

Richarz, Monika. History of Jews in the 19th Century and Early 20th Century. Accessed 1 May 2017.

Architecture as a regulation

Manhattan, NY is separated from the 3 boroughs by water

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.



Works citied:

Schindler, Sarah. Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment. Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

“Manhattan.” Wikipedia, 30 Apr. 2017. Wikipedia,

Assumption of Individualism

Assumption of Individualism


The claim that environment plays a key role in the well-being and future of an individual is constantly denied and replaced with the idea that social problems, or achievements are only individual endeavors. In his “The City of Rhetoric”, David Fleming explains that this idea is the product of a “philosophical modernism”(185). He starts out by describing that the Industrial revolution  impacted  the  view of man. It revolutionized our thinking and made us believe that man is a self-motivating, self-sufficient, self-governing. Fleming tells us that this idea of man was so mythologized that many classic novels and works of literature were built on the display of man’s self-mastery and autonomy. He goes on to explain that this thought led humans to think of home or the environment around us in a superficial context. Therefore, we started to connect with people’s motivations and ideas rather than geographical location. All this led to a “cosmopolitan” society which had mobility and change as a virtue. Along with a technological revolution which dilutes the role of space in human interaction, this long held idea of man’s autonomy becomes even more appealing. Obviously, this conclusion begs the question of: What is the environment around us if it is constantly changing and differentiating?

In Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, a story about a young boy and his endeavors highlights the idea of man’s autonomy. Throughout the story, we see countless adventures which take place in different settings that Huckleberry Finn involves himself in. What is so controversial is that Finn is a little boy who grew up to a drunkard father and a dead mom. Since he is constantly running away from his father, he has no home and goes on adventures with his friends to different towns and states. THis childhood situation idealizes the thought of man’s self-destiny; Finn, as a kid, must live and make his own choices. Finally, at the conclusion of Finn’s adventures he has an ultimate choice with staying with his relative, or conquering the world on his own. As you may have guessed, Finn does go out into the west of America and lives on his own.


Twain, Mark. HUCKLEBERRY FINN, By Mark Twain, Complete. Charles L.                           Webster And Company, 1884,                   h/76-h.htm.

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan            America. SUNY Press, 2008.

New Urbanism



The idea of creating a social mix in troubled neighborhoods with the intentions of educating, integrating, and helping the community as a whole is not what it seems. In “The City of Rhetoric”, David Fleming explains that this system, which has been implemented, is undermining and silencing the poor while celebrating the diversity that the middle class presents. He argues that the incorporation is biased, and that its fundamental design is “attracting high-end buyers and renters”(141). Fleming describes in this effort to diversify, unify, and create equality, housing authorities actually harm the minority neighborhoods they are trying to help. He even describes an interview he had with the head of a certain housing authority as the head describes an emphasis on the middle class integration into the community. The head notes that “this place will be run as a market-rate community that just happens to have public housing residents” (142). This design that housing authorities use is centered on the choice of rich people to live wherever they want. Alternatively, the authorities use the idea that the poor, poverty class do not have a choice. This creates the bias that basically explains this entire project is centered around attracting the middle class while actually ignoring and hiding the low income class.

When New York City is advertised, it  includes the high rises and narcoleptic behavior of manhattan. However, it does not include that 102 public housing projects that are scattered throughout Manhattan. It does not include that Manhattan has the most public housing in all five boroughs. People do not even know what Harlem is when they arrive in NYC. The reputation that the city boasts, with its nightlife and never ending opportunities, attracts younger, middle class white people that are encouraged to live and invest in the city. Therefore, it negates NYC’s low income residents while appealing to the pioneership of the rich people.


“New York City Housing Authority.” Wikipedia, 10 Mar. 2017. Wikipedia,                                                                                                          title=New_York_City_Housing_Authority&oldid=769540171.

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan            America. SUNY Press, 2008.

The Importance of Space

The Persistence of Space

Space plays a very important role in the lives of american citizens. I have noticed that over the years many people have deserted various no-name towns in order to create a life in big, famous cities.  In his “The City of Rhetoric”, David Fleming accurately portrays a country where citizens are valued by their job skills, job wage, and job information. This value, Fleming goes on to describe, is crucial in separating different towns, cities, or even states into a two groups: valuable spaces and devalued spaces. Fleming explains that the new world order that we live in has basically taken all the big high-skill jobs and concentrated them in command and control centers like New York, Tokyo, London, etc. He continues to explain that “”devalued spaces” spaces that are more and more isolated and separated both from each other and from the “valuable spaces””(32). More specifically, Fleming explains that the rise of concentrated areas, where legal, financial, and government work happen, has attracted young professionals. With “cultural-entertainment complexes and recently gentrified neighborhoods”(33) many traveling professionals, entrepreneurs have found means to settle down and offer their inhabited city the best in terms of their high-skill jobs. He concludes his argument with the idea that while rich and affluent communities continue to create enormous wonderful things like private shopping centers just as social spaces, while poor and middle class communities struggle to pay for a place to live.

Examples of Fleming’s idea can even be seen around the world.  According to a study done by the Human Resources for Health, “ More than 23% of America’s 771 491 physicians received their medical training outside the USA.” Their study also showed that 6% of physicians in the entire sub-saharan africa are part of the percentage mentioned earlier. You start to see that people tend to leave their homeland in order to seek better futures. Fleming’s argument is not just about the increasing spatial inequalities, but really, it’s about the importance of place and the role it plays in determining a person’s future.  

Works citied:                                                                                                                                                               Hagopian, Amy, et al. “The Migration of Physicians from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States of America: Measures of the African Brain Drain.” Human Resources for Health, vol. 2, 2004, p. 17.


                Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. SUNY Press, 2008.


Reading Analysis of City of Rhetoric: What is The Postmodern Public?

If we lived in a world of republicanism or liberalism, we would follow certain principles and daily procedures outlined in the fundamentals of these beliefs. But then, we would only be subjected to the limitations and bounds that these concrete definitions present. Currently, we live in a society where people go beyond the fact that our world is made up of concrete laws and create unimaginable things to create a world with more change and possibilities.  In his City of Rhetoric, David Fleming creates a compelling argument about a space we supposedly live in today known as the “Postmodern Space”(29).  According to Fleming, this space occurred somewhere in the last half of the 20th century. With the “invention of the microchip in 1959, the Kennedy assassination in 1963, or the 1972 demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing in St. Louis”(29), Fleming shows us that this space is something out of the ordinary bounds of principle. He shows us that this space is made up of an imminently flexible ideas all unified in an attempt for a largely supported change.  So unified and associated, this postmodern space is so vast that Fleming refers to it as a network of unified, yet interchangeable parts all working together to construct a public that has the power to change anything. Specifically, this space Fleming writes about, is a space that engenders the mentality that anyone can create a reality different from the contemporary thought, or simply that anyone can do anything they desire. As fleming puts it “As theorists and teachers we have moved away from the cultural models… towards models of discontinuity, juxtaposition, and hybridization”(29). He describes the postmodern space or public as a sort of revolution to the orthodox  idea of life, where what you were told or taught is the only possibility. David fleming creates a description of a world without any bounds, a world where change is praised and encouraged. Frankly, I believe he describes the modern world we live in today, a world which has grown and advanced from the past. A past where people would die with a small cold to today where colds are a one week nuisance. Today is the postmodern space where new organs are made from single cells in order to save a person’s life. Turning away from medicine, today is a world where most people do not worry about getting hot water, or waiting a week for an urgent message to get to their significant other. Fleming gives us a world where we can step outside of the box to believe in ourselves to indeed make a change, more specifically a change for the good.