Since Interboro produced the “Arsenal of Exclusion / Inclusion” for the 2009 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam last September, it has continued to think about the things that open and close the city. This has been a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it is fun to think about, say, how jury duty “brings together a heterogeneous cross-section of the community to exercise an important civic right and responsibility,” and a curse because Interboro can’t eat pie without thinking about how the latter has an uncanny capacity to assemble people who might not otherwise assemble, or program a GPS device without becoming transfixed by how race-blind modern technology can be. That is, sometimes pie is just pie, and sometimes, you just need to get to where you are going.
In any case, Interboro has started a blog so that it can have a space to freely carry out this monologue without annoying its non urban planner friends and family members.
Here is the link: http://arsenalofexclusion.blogspot.com/
And here is today’s post, in case you’re not sure you’re ready to go there yet:
How did “School District” escape our original list of 101 things that close the city? Especially here in Park Slope, and extra especially here in the shadow of PS 321, the segregating effect of school districts is something I can witness each and every time I leave my apartment on Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street. Thanks in part to the stellar reputation on PS 321, it seems sometimes that mine is one of the only non-family households in the neighborhood. That vision of baby stroller armageddon that even tourists can conjure by now is by no means inaccurate, but let’s remember why the neighborhood is so full of baby strollers (and, by the way teenagers, which were few and far between in Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and any number of other neighborhoods I have spent time in): yes, Prospect Park is nice to play in, and yes, the retail mix is just right for a young family, but it is the school district that is coveted most. As is to be expected, the money mom and dad save not having to send Ella and Emma to private school is tacked on to the cost of housing. The result? Many people who don’t have kids might find that it is not worth their while to live there, when they could live outside of the 321 district where their rent would be cheaper, and where retail amenities might be a better match (indeed, if I ever go out in Park Slope, it is almost always on the south side, outside the 321 district, where there are better restaurants and where bars actually exist). The result? A certain kind of segregation that separates family households from non-family households. No wonder Park Slope sometimes feels so much like the suburbs.