Social Control: Building to Code

Just an idea here. I was thinking about building codes. In Los Angeles, new construction and remodels are plagued by code enforcement. Granted, these codes are put in place to maintain certain standards of safety. I believe, however, that building codes are also a form of social control. It’s quite expensive to hire a contractor in LA that is fully aware of building codes and also acquires appropriate building permits. Most contractors are lacking in both departments. So why hasn’t LA fallen apart in the last two major earthquakes? Codes? Definitely not. The fact is, Los Angeles has been built good enough. The long running standard for building two-story or smaller buildings in LA has been sufficient to hold up to the environmental requirements of the Los Angeles region.

I propose a new form of building codes that could be enacted along side of current building codes that are more socially facilitating to the lower class. I propose the “good enough” standard. Not half assed, however, not completely up to code (with the exception of fire detectors, minimum standard of nails, I think people get the point: good enough) these buildings, and remodels would be built at the same standards that homes were built at in approximately the 70/80’s (I guess). I think, however, that this set of codes should be available to only lower income candidates and that homes built under the “good enough” standard should be allowed to have the same building status as a fully up to code building.

Racial and social/class inequality has always been a huge problem in this country and only now am I starting to see the implications of these overt and predatory regulations. Maybe we need to simultaneously lower some bars while raising others. But I guess that’s the nature of any compromise.

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One Response to Social Control: Building to Code

  1. deadondres says:

    I really liked this one!

    What an interesting concept that has never occurred to me before. I see the same thing in other industries as well, smaller pools of investment are kept out of the game in the name of “regulation.”

    I hope you will come around and post for us more often!

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