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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2096409
 
 

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Landscape Fairness: Removing Discrimination from the Built Environment


Stephen Clowney


University of Arkansas - School of Law

June 29, 2012

Utah Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
At its core, this Article argues that the everyday landscape is one of the most overlooked instruments of modern race-making. Drawing on evidence from geography and sociology, the paper begins by demonstrating that the built environment inscribes selective and misleading versions of the past in solid, material forms. These narratives — told through street renamings, parks, monuments, and buildings — ultimately marginalize African-American communities and transmit ideas about racial power across generations.

After demonstrating that the landscape remains the agar upon which racial hierarchies replicate themselves, the Article then pivots and examines current efforts to rid the built environment of discriminatory spaces. I put forth that contemporary attacks on the landscape are doomed to fail. The approaches suggested by academics in law and geography either turn a blind eye to the political economy of local decision-making or fail to consider entrenched legal precedent.

The final section of the manuscript lays out a policy proposal that could spark a new focus on issues of “landscape fairness.” I argue in favor of a set of basic procedural requirements that would force jurisdictions to reconsider the discriminatory places within their borders. Procedural mandates would force government to internalize values it might otherwise ignore, allow citizen-critics to challenge dominant historical narratives, and push communities to view the past (and future) in much more diverse terms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 71

Keywords: Race, Landsacpe, Urban Form, Monuments, Procedure, Parks, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Confederate Statues, History

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Date posted: June 30, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Clowney, Stephen, Landscape Fairness: Removing Discrimination from the Built Environment (June 29, 2012). Utah Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2096409

Contact Information

Stephen Clowney (Contact Author)
University of Arkansas - School of Law ( email )
260 Waterman Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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