The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion

A book about accessibility in the built environment in the US.


The research in this book has been supported over the years by generous grants from a number of organizations. Grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts were invaluable, and we remain hugely grateful for them.

Project Team: 

Tobias Armborst, Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore, Riley Gold, Rebecca Beyer-Wink, Lynley Bernstein, Dare Brawley, Charlene Chai, Matthew Clark, Azzurra Cox, James Estrada, Michaela Friedberg, Alberto Gonzalez Ruiz, Jihwan Han, David Himelman, George Hewitt, Katherine Isidro, Nicholas Korody, Urs Kumberger, Matthew Lohry, Rachael London, Ondine Masson, Noah Michelon, Eka Pramuditha, Hilla Rudanko, E Talbot Schmidt, Eric Schwartau, Samu Szemerey, Rafael Soldi, Kathryn Sonnabend, Pedro Torres Garcia-Canto, Arielle Wiener-Bronner, Margaret Zyro

with Tim Davis (photography), Lesser Gonzalez (cover illustration)

with essays from A.E. Peterson, Adam Gordon, Albert Pope, Amy Lavine, Andrew Blechman, Andrew Kahrl, Andy Yan, Antero Pietila, Anthony Schuman, Baye Adofo-Wilson, Beryl Satter, Bill Bishop, Brian Ripel, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Charles Connerly, Chester Hartman, Cynthia Lee, Damon Rich, David M. P. Freund, David Rusk, Ellen Pader, Gabriella Modan, Gabrielle Esperdy, Gerald Frug, Gregory D. Squires, James Giresi, James Loewen, James Rojas, Jana Cephas, Jeff Goldenson, Jeffrey Johnson, Jennifer Yoos, Joseph Heathcott, Julie Behrens, Kaja Kühl, Kyle Delotto, LA Urban Rangers, Lior Jacob Strahilevitz, Lisa Brawley, Lisa Selin Davis, Margaret Crawford, Marshall Brown, Marta Gutman, Matthew Lassiter, Meredith TenHoor, Michael Kubo, Michael Piper, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, N.D.B. Connolly, Naa Oyo A. Kwate, Nicholas Korody, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Oksana Mironova, Quilian Riano, Raymond A. Mohl, Richard Rothstein, Robert Beauregard, Rosten Woo, Sharon Perlman Krefetz, Sonia Hirt, Stephen Walker, Susan M Schweik, Susan Sloan, Susanna Schaller, Susanne Schindler, Takako Tajima, Theresa Schwarz, Tom Vanderbilt, Toni L. Griffin, V. Elaine Gross, Vincent James, W. Edward Orser, Wendy Plotkin, William J. TenHoor, and Yael Friedman

Urban History 101 teaches us that the built environment is not the product of invisible, uncontrollable market forces, but of human-made tools that could have been used differently (or not at all). The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion is an encyclopedia of 202 tools--or what we call "weapons"--used by architects, planners, policy-makers, developers, real estate brokers, activists, and other urban actors in the United States use to restrict or increase access to urban space. The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion inventories these weapons, examines how they have been used, and speculates about how they might be deployed (or retired) to make more open cities in which more people feel welcome in more spaces.

The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion includes minor, seemingly benign weapons like no loitering signs and bouncers, but also big, headline-grabbing things like eminent domaon and city-county consolidation. It includes policies like expulsive zoning and annexation, but also practices like blockbusting, institutions like neighborhood associations, and physical things like bombs and those armrests that park designers put on benches to make sure homeless people don't get too comfortable. It includes historical things that aren't talked about too much any more (e.g., ugly laws), things that seem historical but aren't (e.g., racial steering), and things that are brand new (e.g., aging improvement district).

With contributions from over fifty of the best minds in architecture, urban planning, urban history, and geography, The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion offers a wide-ranging view of the policies, institutions, and social practices that shape our cities. It can be read as a historical account of the making of the modern American city, a toolbox of best practices for creating better, more just spaces, or as an introduction to the process of city-making in The United States.

thumbnail illustration by Lesser Gonzalez

background images by Tim Davis