Intersectional analysis is a term that generally describes a process or a field whose focus is on the intersections between systems and forms of dominance, discrimination, and oppression of one group towards another. Intersectional analysis is more than just a tool; rather, it is an important concept or paradigm that is frequently used and referred to in cultural and social studies, as well as in anthropology at least at some point. The objective of this paper is to discuss intersectional analysis from a general perspective and proceed to more specific discussions such as those focused on the advantages and disadvantages of it when used as an approach in urban spacing and planning. In order to support the inferences and concepts that have been presented in this paper, the author made use of concrete examples from previously published studies where the essence of intersectional analysis has been applied, within the context of urban spacing.
Operationally, urban space (or urban spacing) can be deemed similar to urban planning in a lot of ways. This is because they are both focused on (although at varying points) the analysis of the possible future developments in an urban or would-be urbanized location. One striking difference between the two, however, at least from a general perspective is that urban planning is more concerned with the economic, business-related, and other management feasibility-related aspects of urbanization. Urban spacing, on the other hand, focuses more on the social and cultural aspect of managing and planning for the development of an urban location. The realm of the latter is where the concepts and principles of intersectional analysis can be used. The main objective of intersectional analysis is to determine what types of people would be living in a pre-planned urban location; where those people would live, the policies that and what kind of lifestyle would be most suitable for them.
Basically, intersectional analysis can help urban planners (or in this case, urban spacers) improve their understanding on urban spacing by teaching them the principle that suggests that some groups of people are simply not meant to be living together even in this highly civilized an era, and more so in the only small and tight living spaces available in most urban centers and communities.
One of the biggest strengths of using intersectional analysis within the context of urban spacing is that it can be very versatile. Specifically, intersectional analysis can be used to analyze the different possible interactions between and relationships that may be formed between two or more groups of people that are differentiated by gender orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, political ideology, and social status (among other possible forms of differentiating factors). In a highly globalized and modernized environment, it is not uncommon (in fact, it is highly likely) for two or more groups of people that are intersected by at least one (if not many) of the differentiating factors that were just mentioned to meet and interact with each other, especially in an urban setting where businesses and their operations tend to just go nonstop.
Because of this versatility, urban planners and those who manage urban spacing can determine what methods would most likely work best for every group or minority living in a certain urban location or community. This was the case presented by Molina (2006) in one of her works. She discussed the urban spacing problem that occurred in the fast growing city of Los Angeles in the United States which they only started to recognize during the closing years of the nineteenth century. In 19th to early 20th century LA’s case, the sources of the urban problem were identified as the members of the cultural minorities (e.g. Chinese, Mexicans, and etc.). To which, the local government responded by taking steps to remove the problems out of the city. This was an example of urban spacing via intersectional analysis.
The biggest weakness of Intersectional Analysis is that it hinders cultural and social integration and unity. This is exactly what can be seen in the case of 19th to early 20th century LA, where the local government attempted to throw out the members of the cultural minorities out of the city after concluding, falsely apparently, that they were the root cause of the bad things happening in the city. A lot of things have already changed since then and today, the people of this world have already become more civilized and the national economies of the once divided countries are just continuing to become more and more interconnected (economically, socially, culturally, and politically). This is a big trend and there are no signs that show that this trend can be stopped. Unfortunately, the common rationale for and principles of using intersectional analysis go against this trend.
It is true that the use of intersectional analysis may still be necessary. But this does not apply to all cases. In most cases, intersectional analysis is only used, at least based on what the latest trends at this point in time suggest, in highly conservative countries and communities. In highly developed and modern economies, this may not be applicable at all anymore; this is because people, in terms of culture, race, ethnicity, gender orientation, and other possible differentiating factor that may intersect any two or more groups, are becoming more connected and interconnected.
Molina. "Introduction, Refining the Racial Hierarchy." 2006.
Wirth, L. "Urbanism as a Way of Life." The American Journal of Sociology, 1938.