Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2011 Jasmine L. Edo
The United States government has taken steps to assure underprivileged citizens housing in the form of public housing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as various humanitarian programs in the form of homeless shelters. Yet, all housing is not equal. Our freedom to choose where we live and what type of house we live in is one revered aspect of life as a United States citizen. We can express our individuality, creativity, and personality through the architectural style of our homes. In this sense it is hard to ask for equal housing. I am suggesting that equality comes from adequate access to social participation, social integration, and power, in other words social inclusion. (Room, 7) Investigating and correcting the causes of social exclusion in order to create social inclusion is necessary in order to ascertain equality of housing in America.
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings and afterward our buildings shape us.” (Gieryn, 35) But what happens when you do not have power over the shaping of your own building? Is your building still a reflection of yourself? And if we allow building to include the environment in which your home is located, what if previous use of the land left it degraded? Will the degradation shape you?
My thesis considers the question: does the environmental quality and architectural style of public housing in the United States facilitate the social exclusion of these communities? If so, what best practices can we take away from models that have been successful at combatting social exclusion? By answering these questions I strive to develop a proposal to right this currently unjust situation.
Edo, Jasmine L., "Public Housing in the United States: Using Sustainable Urbanism to Combat Social Exclusion" (2012). Scripps Senior Theses. 28.