Why We Basically Cannot Prosecute Architectural Exclusion on civil rights grounds:
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In section one of Sarah Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion “Architectural Exclusion:Theory” she carefully explains some of the ways that cities have been designed to favor more privileged groups of people. She first references some of the more overt ways that people have managed to discriminate against “undesirable” groups, then shifts toward more covert and hard to prove ways discrimination has occurred. Some of the common themes were “norms”, “regulation”, “legal”, and “civil engineering”. Sarah Schindler develops the claim that it may be very difficult to “tell” when architectural discrimination is present. In addition how over history there has been enough anecdotal evidence to support the fact that it has been there. She also provides background as to how it has been addressed in the past and why it is so often overlooked. The overall purpose is to explain how legally ambiguous any case against architectural exclusion can be and why it is dangerous to ignore this fact.
The first piece of evidence Schindler provides for why architectural discrimination is as big of an issue as it is, is because it is not given very much legal attention “People used the law by passing ordinances … encouraged some to threaten undesirable persons “with violence if they were to enter or remain in certain spaces.” and continuing “The first two methods of discrimination have received sustained attention from legal scholars; the third form, which I refer to as architecture, has not. This Part departs from tradition by focusing on architecture instead of ordinances and social norms.” The problem with architectural discrimination is that is very difficult to notice. Civil engineers are hired to simply design the most efficient and effective designs for a city. How the city is designed is up to their discretion. Any divisiveness often does not go noticed because other more obvious types of discrimination are easier to spot.
Schindler continues her assertion that architectural discrimination has actually been studied and has been found to be a real issue whether it has been legally regulated or not.One of the supports that Schindler provides is that law is not the only way that people are discriminated against. To further her assertion she shares that though the built environment does not explicitly appear as any discriminatory law, the actions of any design that influences the behavior of civilians can directly exclude different groups of people. However, even though there is extensive understanding of some of the ways that architectural exclusion occurs, there seems to be very little action to deter or discourage it.
Schindler continues into detail about some of the ways that architectural discrimination is studied to provide a bigger picture as to why this is such a huge issue. Schindler clearly wants to impress upon the reader that there are many ways that the city can be structured to provide “amenities” for favorable groups and divide the city. In addition to this, she is able to provide a much more detailed explanation as to why it is legally gray to take any recourse toward those who are doing this. One of the reasons is because the law does not provide any real way to combat discrimination. There are laws regulating the zoning, however, there is not a lot of civil rights information, allowing for some serious loopholes. Simply put, even though there are very consistent regulations against explicit discrimination; it is very difficult to find any violation through architectural means, and because of this there have been some very extensive civil cases. The main issue with any recourse being taken was that the amount of evidence needed has been nearly impossible to collect because of the ambiguous laws.Because of this, there has not been a lot that could be done to stop architectural discrimination.
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