In Suzanne Tick’s article “His Her? Designing for a Post- Gender Society” she discusses how masculine and feminine roles are being challenged. She goes into more detail by describing how design ties in with Modernism. This concept of “Modernism” is deeply rooted within a male perspective. “Historically, men have occupied power roles in offices, so male necessities dictated the design of prime spaces, while the female secretaries occupied ancillary areas.” Tick notes that men typically generate the conversation and are the subject of most occupied spaces. This article dismantles this idea of what society calls “gender” and instead raises questions pertaining to how we identify ourselves. Multiple examples are brought up especially from students at universities who refuse to conform to either male or female.
Tick does bring up the argument that it can also be somewhat confusing, especially now that girls look like boys and boys look like girls. In order to support her claims though, Tick mentions androgyny and how this has served as a commonplace. It is different for us now especially in this new generation because labels are slowly diminishing. As a society, we have realized that it is okay to be other. Being transgender or non-binary is no longer seen as being an outcast instead they are now being accepted, the problem is that social spaces are needed for these individuals to feel like they are being accepted.
In his last chapter of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming concludes his analysis of the built American environment. He accurately describes the flaws that still are ever present within these various communities. Continuously and throughout the book, the majority population illustrated a lack of care for the minority and continuously finds different methods to keep them in the same systems. Fleming makes a point of noting that we throw around the word “community” carelessly but in reality, “We continue, that is, to be afraid of our diversity and to imagine that the most progressive response to social alienation is its opposite— a melding of disparate experiences into unity.” We fail to actually include those who look different than us into our built environments which leave room for disparities between each other. This also causes us to view each other as different even though we have no actual knowledge of the way we live our lives.
Fleming emphasizes that we should not be looking at this book from a global perspective, but instead, look within our own built spaces and figure out how we can improve it. He uses the example of Hurricane Katrina and the poor response from our own former President, George Bush Jr. There seems to be a stigma that if a catastrophic event occurs only the elite are of concern and those who are the urban poor minority are left out of the conversation. This is reminiscent of Kanye West’s rant: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Although this seems comedic there is a sense of truth to this statement. As a community, we fail one another if we do not pick up the minority from their oppressive state. It is wrongful to blame them for their living conditions if they have always remained in these conditions and never given the opportunity or a ladder to climb out of these environments.
In David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, part four discusses the Ghetto, primarily Chicago’s ghetto. He analyzes the effects of the ghetto, like gentrification, and how this particular social space as condensed a group of people into one area in order to keep them in these low socioeconomic neighborhoods that leave little to no room for escape. Fleming quotes 1968 Kerner Commission who describes the ghetto as “an area within a city characterized by poverty and acute social disorganization and inhabited by members of a racial or ethnic group under conditions of involuntary segregation” (Fleming 150). It is clear that the ghetto has been used to keep a specific group of people excluded from the majority population. If these people do not have their own opportunities for entrepreneurship and a chance to grow their communities, there is no way they are able to compete with the majority population.
Fleming notes that the ghetto is a modernization of racial residential segregation. He explains that this has been evident with both of the great migrations. It is clear that within these cities, black people, who are already at a disadvantage due to historical background, are moved out of the cities that they have already occupied. Once the majority white population take over these cities, the black population are left to depend on those who moved them out. Those residing in these ghettos tend to rely on public housing and public assistance to continue with their lives. Since they become dependent there is no room to move up the socioeconomic ladder and leaves them in the same place they found themselves, which becomes generational.
In part five of David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric, Fleming discusses the rhetorical space of the modern day Suburbia. He focuses primarily on Schaumburg, Illinois and notes how these new suburban towns have been primarily occupied by the white middle class, leaving little to no room for black or people of color residents. This causes these residents to reside in oppressive conditions in the city and leaves little to no room for expansion. Fleming goes on to discuss “Chicagoland” and how this metropolitan area is reconstructed by decentralization, fragmentation, and polarization. Focusing primarily on decentralization, it tracks the way that “middle and upper-class whites moved first their homes and then their stores… out of central cities into the outlying regions around the city.” This illustrates that white people take the initiative in order to protect their lifestyle. Fleming tries to illustrate the different methods white people do this, but overall he makes us question how we have seen this illustrated within our own rhetorical communities. Once they feel like that lifestyle is threatened, we see an influx of them moving outward.
Fleming captures the rhetorical space of Suburbia in a very specific way and makes it understandable because as a society we can see it happening before our eyes. He gives multiple statistics to support his claims and offers a wide range of historical examples to bring substance to his argument. It is clear that the moving out of white individuals into these suburbias is continuing at a rapid pace. But as more and more people of color are making more money and moving into these spaces, we see a divide within the Suburbia. Fleming gives the reader background into what has happened prior with white people moving from these urban areas. Since there is such an influx of individuals moving into Suburbia, it is hopeful that this divide will no longer stand and the socioeconomic status of these suburbians will become equivalent. It is worthy to not that this may never happen due to historical background and the way the system is set up. Those who are continuously oppressed will not become the oppressor, instead, they become a catalyst to the system.
In his book, City of Rhetoric, David Fleming argues that African Americans have been purposefully segregated by giving them the worst housing in the worst neighborhoods. Specifically, Fleming uses Chicago to illustrate the segregation that occurred after an influx of African Americans moved from the south to the north, also known as the Great Migration. The white people in these areas were nervous of blacks people infiltrating the city of Chicago and making a home for themselves. In order to prevent this from occurring white people made local legislation that limited black people.They played into their fears of people being different from them. Unfortunately, during this time black people are still at a disadvantage because they are unable to equally compete with the white people. This all stems back to slavery because the whites had all the power, black people were left to feel inferior to the white people. By providing the necessary means of helping them navigate through society after reconstruction, black people are continuously left in the dust and are told to fend for themselves with the little resources they have. Fleming notes this by describing how people social spheres, “is both a cause and effect pf our increasingly impoverished political relations with one another” (Fleming 3). The relationships that people in these areas affect the way they communicate with one another and tend to cause discourse.
In Chicago, this was explicitly the case. Many of the black people in these communities were required to apply for public housing because of the limited housing available for them at that time. Instead of white people allowing blacks to buy houses in these areas, they regulated them by setting up a more “legal” version of Jim Crow Laws, which prohibited black people from owning homes in the shared built environment and living space as the white people. Allowing this level of injustice to occur limits black people from succeeding and it places them in environments that prohibit any type of success. “Blacks living in the heart of the ghetto are among the most isolated people on earth” (Fleming 88).
Fleming gives specific examples explaining the importance of building relationships with one another, but he does realize that as a society there are certain elements that prevent us from achieving understanding. “But over and above these individual obstacles to civic life, I believe, there are ecological attributes of these neighborhoods that prevent the individuals who live in them from building strong publics together” (89). Fleming’s analysis of the city of Chicago is very similar to what is happening with President Trump’s immigration ban. Throughout history, we have seen the implications of excluding groups from our built society. It never ends well and usually results in the oppression of the minority. In order to prevent this from reoccurring, it is important that we analyze what makes us different and work to build a relationship of understanding for one another.
In her piece, Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment: architectural exclusion: theory, Sarah Schindler argues that architect is being used by majority population to exclude groups of people, like minorities, who they do not want in their built environment. Specifically, Schindler brings to light others arguments that “People used the law by passing ordinances saying that certain individuals could not access certain locations” (Schindler 1942). These individuals in this environment are aware that the law is what governs the people. Once they have the law on their side they are able to manipulate it to work in their favor. This leaves poor people and the minority out of the equation, causing them to suffer and become victims from these ordinances. Placing restrictions also prevents the majority from coming into any close contact with the minority, which leaves the minority fending for themselves.
Schindler also gives specific examples on how our physical environment regulates people daily lives. “One might think it a simple aesthetic design decision to create a park bench that is divided into three individual seats with armrests separating those seats. Yet the bench may have been created this way to prevent people—often homeless people—from lying down and taking naps” (Schindler 1942). Objects that were created to provide comfort for all people, also creates discomfort. Structuring objects create a limitation on society as a whole. This allows for a superiority complex. If one thinks they are better than the other and prevents the one group of people from participating in their built environment it will ultimately cause those individuals to go away and find another physical space they might feel welcomed in. This leaves the original group benefiting from these objects, alone. In the instance, with the chairs, these were most likely created to prevent homeless people from sleeping in them. Once these homeless people notice the regulation on the chair they eventually find someplace else to sleep, most likely among people who are homeless themselves and can identify with their struggle.
In conclusion, Sarah Schindler explains how our built environment affects our everyday lives, even though we may not realize it. Every modern architectural design is thought out with careful consideration of who is around there and the type of individuals they would like to have in their environment or who they would like to exclude. As a society, we unconsciously regulate people’s day to day movements, through walls and borders that enclose us and prevents us from exploring different people or trying new things. Schindler recognizes that we tend to build regulations in order to contain and protect what we already have instead of sharing our built space as a society. Failing to do this, leaves some individuals in a society feeling left out and creates separation and defensiveness one another.
This ted talk is interesting because it challenges how we perceive architect and makes us question our rhetorical space.
Schindler, Sarah. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” 1. Architectural Exclusion: Theory. 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2017.
In the introduction to “The City of Rhetoric,” David Fleming provides examples designed to challenge readers on their definition of human discourse and how we communicate with one another. Specifically, Fleming argued the different lifestyles of African Americans living in Cabrini Green neighborhood of northside Chicago compared to middle-class whites living in close proximity to these neighborhoods. As the author himself, puts it, “The favored suburbs turned out to be largely closed to economic and racial integration, and Chicago blacks do not seem to want to move to such places anyway.” Although some people may believe that economic and racial integration is a problem of the past, Flemming insists that it is still a lingering issue that affects millions of minorities across the Nation.
I agree that economic and racial integration is a major issue without many positive solutions. In my view, the type of rhetoric the author recommended is both useful and imperative in the discussion of social integration. For instance, in each chapter, Flemming offers solutions to solve the problem of social oppression and political marginalization among the African American inner city. Some may object to this solution on the grounds that these methods have been proven insufficient and without positive outcomes. Yet, I argue that these methods should be implemented in order to give African American youth a voice and a chance to advocate for themselves and their own city. Overall I believe in the importance of individuals “charting their own destiny” and realizing that they have complete control over their living environment. Once we as a society understand where others come from and accept our differences, we can better live as a social group.
In the preface to “City of Rhetoric,” David Fleming provides an analysis of the relationship of public discourse and the built environment of the United States. The built environment is the space that each individual lives in and identifies with, our built environment also impacts the way we interact with individuals and respond to them if they are a part of our built environment or outsiders to their environment. this also affects the way they communicate with one another. Specifically, Fleming argues that this built space makes up our neighborhoods and metropolitan areas and affects our day to day operations and also those we communicate with. As the author themselves puts it “I argue that the growing spatial stratification of our physical landscape— the decentralization, fragmentation, and polarization of our local geography— is both cause and effect of our increasingly impoverished political relations with one another.” Although some people believe that it may not be our local geography location that affects our discourse, Fleming insists that those who we communicate with and our built environment affects our daily lifestyles and shapes our identities.