Mass Exclusion: How Affordable Housing Shifted from Wealthy to Disadvantaged NJ Communities
A February 19 New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) article “Turf Wars: How Design is Used as a Weapon of Mass Exclusion” highlights how design has been used for mass exclusion.
The article’s author Shydale James writes “At a very fundamental level, architecture makes space for some people, communities and users by excluding others, for better or for worse. In that sense architecture is always political,” said Georgeen Theodore, an architecture professor at the College of Architecture and Design at NJIT. “It is important for designers to be more aware of the social consequences, as well as the drivers of design decisions that might at first seem completely outside the realm of politics.”
In their book, The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion, Theodore, Tobias Armbost, and Daniel D’Oca “Visualize one inequity by using an illustrative map that demonstrates how the construction of affordable housing units was shifted from wealthy, high-opportunity communities to distressed and disadvantaged ones in New Jersey. Another entry takes on the anti-homeless armrest, describing how people who would want to lie down or sleep on a bench are made to feel unwelcome through its design.
Theodore concludes with a reminder the designers and planners can play a role in ensuring that no one is excluded from our communities.
“By foregrounding the weapons or tools that are used by different actors to shape urban space, we tried to show that cities don’t naturally evolve,” explained Theodore. “The conditions that we find in the built environment are the product of intentioned human actions. The city is makeable. Ultimately, designers, planners, even readers have the capacity to create their own weapons to fight for a more equitable and inclusive city.”
Theodore, Tobias Amborst and Daniel D’Oca have are principals and co-founders of the Brooklyn-based architecture, design and planning firm, Interboro.
Monarch Housing Associates in partnership with Seton Hall University Law School, the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ, and NJ Institute for Social Justice will host a Public Policy Forum on The Color of Law on May 16, 2018.
The Public Policy Forum keynote speaker and author Richard Rothstein will present the national research in his book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Government Segregated America, and take questions from the audience. Richard Rothstein contributed an essay to The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion.
There is no cost to reserve your spot at the Public Policy Forum but donations to offset the cost of the event are appreciated.
Please register today for this important event and opportunity to delve deeper into the issue of segregation. Tickets are going quickly. As of this morning half of the tickets have been purchased in less than a week. The Forum will include the opportunity to discuss how we can all work to further advance fair housing in New Jersey. The event will be held at Seton Hall Law School in Newark.