- Lori A. Brown, Syracuse University School of Architecture, USA
In this book, Lori Brown examines the relationship between space, defined physically, legally and legislatively, and how these factors directly impact the spaces of abortion. It analyzes how various political entities shape the physical landscapes of inclusion and exclusion to reproductive healthcare access, and questions what architecture's responsibilities are in respect to this spatial conflict.
Employing writing, drawing and mapping methodologies, this interdisciplinary project explores restrictions and legislatures which directly influence abortion policy in the US, Mexico and Canada. It questions how these legal rulings produce spatial complexities and why architecture isn't more culturally and spatially engaged with these spaces.
In Mexico, where abortion is fully legal only in Mexico City during the first trimester, women must travel vast distances and undergo extreme conditions in order to access the procedure. Conservative state governments continue to make abortion a severely punishable crime. In Canada, there are nowhere near the cultural and religious stigmas to abortion as in the US and Mexico. Completely legal and without restrictions, Canada offers an important contrast to the ongoing abortion issues within the US and Mexico. Researching the spatial implications of such a politicized space, this book expands beyond a study of abortion clinic and includes other spaces such as women's shelters and hospitals that require multiple levels of secured spaces in order to discuss the spatial ramifications of access and security within spaces that are highly personal, private, and sometimes secret or even hidden.
In questioning what architecture's responsibility is in these spatial conflicts, the book looks at how what architecture 'does' can be used to reconsider the spaces and security around such contested places, and ultimately suggests what design's potential impact might be. In doing so, it shows how architecture's role might be redefined within social and spatial practices.
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Social and spatial practices; Legal frameworks understood spatially; Case studies and spatial awareness; Landscapes of access: United States, Canada and Mexico; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
Reviews: A Yankee Book Peddler US and UK Core Title for 2013
Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services
‘In Contested Spaces: Abortion Clinics, Women's Shelters and Hospitals feminist architectural research makes an important return to explicit women’s issues with a powerful and deeply provocative situated examination of spaces in and around North American abortion clinics. Drawing on the richness of feminist analysis, cultural geography and design activism of the last three decades, Lori A. Brown shows the extent to which these spaces and the various “geographies of access” arise out of state law as well as activities of anti-abortion protestors who in turn drive new legislation and a vast security apparatus. The book is a tribute to the professionals and activists who continue to make choice a possibility, and an inspiring call to creative practitioners to get involved.’
Katie Lloyd Thomas, Newcastle University, UK
Lori Brown has a profile page and a website: Feminist Practices
Extracts from this title are available to view:
Full contents list
Read an interview with the author, Lori Brown on The Daily Beast: Women in the World website