Discrimination in the Public Space: How Architecture Can Promote Intolerance

Sarah Schindler opens the first section of Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment with the segment titledArchitectural Exclusion: Theory”  by focusing on the underrepresented process of architectural manipulation as a discriminatory tool. The writer claims that there is little scholarly focus beyond the realm of “regulation”  as ways to divide a community and that architecture itself should be held on an equal ground of importance (10). She explains that it is a rather non-traditional form of discrimination and because it does not hold the same public standing as other methods, falls out of the minds of the general public who passively live without examining their residence.

Schindler begins with a simple anecdote of arm rests on benches as a way to prevent unwanted homeless citizens from sleeping in parks as a way to illustrate a greater network within our society. The average citizen would see the armrests as a helpful piece of engineering that benefits them personally, but never looks hard enough to realize their true purpose. The author goes further to say that monumental structures are not simply trophies of progress but instead a further extension of discrimination that already exists. While it is noted in the field of urban planning and geography, Schindler stakes the claim that it is simply to further political goals of the groups running the area.

Many pieces of infrastructure thought as necessary are often placed where they are on purpose beyond fiscal or geographic boundaries. Highways through neighborhoods by highways and town squares can separate and divide respectively. A community is not simply valued by where it is, but instead in relation to that which resides around it. Many “exclusionary amenities” built into the framework of a city can prove push out citizens and invite those who fall under that category of political favor. All of this in conjunction allows racial discrimination to exist under the nose of the ignorant citiz

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