|[The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion, illustration by Lesser Gonzales]|
Now that I've started writing about 99% Invisible podcasts, I may just never stop. This week's podcast featured David D'Oca of Interboro Design and their project The Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion. Roman Mars focused on the exclusion side but I found myself wondering about the inclusion side. Would it be all mixed use development, walkable communities and farmers markets? What would accidentally inclusive design look like? I supposed that it looks like, well, like benches. The kind you can sit on with a friend, without an awkward 'arm rest' dividing the space between you. Or making it impossible to catch a snooze in the sun. Inclusion is grass that you can walk on. Public buildings whose entry ways still have helpful signs, places to sit and no guards. Mostly accidentally inclusive places are places that haven't tried to exclude anyone yet.
In fact, most of The Arsenal website talks about exclusion. It's valid. The exclusive arsenal tends to be a lot sneakier. It is full of things, like the one way streets discussed in the 99% Invisible podcast, that seem like decisions based on how much room there is or in managing traffic flow, but really are about managing who can access the space.
That said, one inclusive tool that I hadn't heard of before is the the eruv, a Jewish symbolic boundary formed by wire that expands the 'home' and therefore expands the area that the observant can travel on the Sabbath. "The eruv is in the Arsenal of Inclusion because it allows practicing Jews who might otherwise be required to segregate themselves to enjoy the benefits of living within a larger urban area while satisfying the traditional requirements of religious property law" (From Esquire's article on The Arsenal.) This increases the ability a community of people to enjoy the space, while having virtually no effect on others living the same area. Many of the tools of inclusion are also similarly intentional, often part of government regulation or other activist intervention.
Listen to the podcast here. Check out The Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion here. Get a quick peek at the Arsenal via Esquire here.