The Arsenal of Exclusion / Inclusion


The Arsenal of Exclusion / Inclusion is a dictionary of 101 weapons that architects, planners, policy-makers, developers, real estate brokers, community activists and individuals use to open and close the city. Its purpose is to give people an understanding about the ways in which the Open City is made and unmade in America. It was produced for the 2009 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam.

The Arsenal is arranged alphabetically, and you are welcome to read it that way. However, here are some thematic tours you can take:

Tour 1: So you want to understand why America is so racially segregated? A most depressing history lesson, the purpose of this tour is to remind readers that racial segregation was the product of dozens of Local, State, and Federal policies aimed (sometimes explicitly) at creating two Americas, separate and unequal. Though these overt weapons are used a lot less than they used to be, the legacy of each is nonetheless evidenced by a walk through any of America’s older, former manufacturing cities, or by Census maps that show race, income, and home values in America’s Metropolitan Areas. While many of these weapons arguably had good intentions (Urban Renewal, Public Housing, and Freeway come to mind), many, obviously, did not, as evidenced by entries on Racial Zoning, Racial Covenants, and Racial Steering, to name a few.

Tour 2: So you want to understand why segregation persists 40 years after the Fair Housing Act? More than forty years have passed since the Fair Housing Act outlawed discrimination in the sale, rental, and marketing of homes, in mortgage lending, and in zoning, and still most Americans live in environments that are radically segregated, especially by race. For example in Baltimore, 89 percent of public school students are African-American or Hispanic. How can we explain this? Is racial-segregation merely the legacy of weapons-like Racial Zoning-that no longer operate? Or are there newer, subtler weapons that continue to produce racially-homogeneous communities? This tour is meant to support the latter claim. It contains entries on Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions, Homeowners’ Associations, Exclusionary Amenities, and Sukkah Balconies, to name a few.

Tour 3: So you want to understand the weak tactics of the strong . . . To scare skateboarders away, a manager of an outdoor “lifestyle center” installed hidden speakers in the center’s plazas that blare classical music and smooth jazz. To restrict access to its waterfront, a small town in Massachusetts installed superfluous fire hydrants on access paths, restricting parking, and thereby preventing those not from the immediate area from accessing the waterfront. “No Cruising” Zones, Residential Parking Permits, Armrests on Benches: this tour highlights what we call the weak tactics of the strong: subtle, pathetic attempts to close the city to “undesirables” without too much fanfare.

Tour 4: So you want to see who is working undercover for the Open City . . . This tour includes entries on GPS navigation, Flat Fares, Halloween, Jury Duty, and Designated Smoking Zones, among others. These weapons are a collection of everyday phenomena that, quite unlike the weapons in tour 5, are working for the Open City unintentionally. Not conceived of by architects, planners, or policy-makers, these weapons are nonetheless weapons that we think architects, planners, and policy-makers would be wise to co-opt. Though they open the city accidentally (most were invented for some other purpose having little or nothing to do with progressive planning policy), they are potentially very effective weapons in the fight for the Open City.

Tour 5: So you want to fight fire with fire . . . This tour is aimed at planners, policy-makers, and community activists bent on opening the city with ambitious, immodest, game-changing policy tools. Forced Busing, Inclusionary Zoning, Community Land Trusts, Displacement Free Zones: these strong tactics of the weak look to undermine market idealizations, and reverse some of the longstanding damage done by the weapons in tours 1 and 2. While the respective successes of these weapons are sometimes difficult to evaluate (for example, it could be argued that Forced Busing and Public Housing did more for segregation than integration), these weapons are in some respects the Open City’s best foot forward, embodying a willingness to fight fire with fire.

Contributors: Julie Behrens, Bill Bishop, Lisa Brawley, Ava Bromberg, Marshall Brown, Common Room, Charles Connerly, Nathan Connolly, Margaret Crawford, Alexander D’Hooghe, Judith de Jong, Gabrielle Esperdy, Elizabeth Evitts Dickenson, David Freund, Gerald Frug, Interboro Partners, Vincent James, Jeffrey Johnson, Michael Kubo, Kaja Kuhl, Matthew Lassiter, Amy Lavine, Setha Low, Thomas Oles, Edward Orser, A.E. Peterson, Michael Piper, Wendy Plotkin, Jenny Polak, Albert Pope, Mathan Ratinam, Damon Rich, Brian Ripel, James Rojas, Theresa Schwarz, Roger Sherman, Susan Sloan, Lior Strahilevitz, Meredith TenHoor, William TenHoor, Thumb Projects (Graphic Design), Stephen Walker, Jennifer Yoos

Interboro Project Team: Tobias Armborst, Matthew Clarke, Daniel D’Oca, Adrien Forney, Urs Kumberger, Ben Lindner, Ondine Masson, Hilla Rudanko, Eric Schwartau, Rafael Soldi, Samu Szemerey, Georgeen Theodore, Pedro Torres

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