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Social Justice: The Latest Architecture and News

AIANY Calls on American Architects to Stop Designing Unjust Spaces of Incarceration

The Board of Directors of AIA New York has recently released a statement discouraging the design of criminal justice facilities that uphold the current system. Taking a stand against designing unjust, cruel, and harmful spaces of incarceration, AIA NY solicited architects to reflect on the broader social implications of their work.

"Architecture is Vital to Native Culture": Sam Olbekson on Indigenous Design and Social Justice

Social justice begins with building understanding and community. For Sam Olbekson, Principal of Native American Design at Cuningham Group and Founder of Full Circle Indigenous Planning, community holds a deep relationship to local cultures and traditions. As a member of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, Sam brings the perspective of a tribal member who grew up in Native communities, both on and off the reservation. Today, he's using design to reflect contemporary social values and build for future generations.

Courtesy of Cuningham GroupCourtesy of Full Circle Indigenous PlanningCourtesy of Full Circle Indigenous PlanningCourtesy of Cuningham Group+ 16

Harvard GSD Students and Alumni Launch Design Yard Sale for Racial Justice

Students and alumni from the Harvard Graduate School of Design are launching an online Design Yard Sale to raise funds in support of the movement against systemic anti-Black racism. The team will sell and auction creative works donated by the design community, and all net proceeds will go towards the Bail Project and Colloqate Design. Among Design Yard Sale’s offerings will be works donated by renowned designers, artists, and scholars such as Toshiko Mori, Oana Stanescu, Rachel Israela, Jeanne Gang, Billie Tsien, Snarkitecture, Jerome Byron and VERV LONDON.

Virgil Abloh™️ x IKEA MARKERAD Chair. Image Courtesy of Design Yard SaleUntitled 05 by Kyat Chin. Image Courtesy of Design Yard SaleOana by Rachel Israela. Image Courtesy of Design Yard SaleConcrete Stool by Jerome Byron. Image Courtesy of Design Yard Sale+ 7

Bryan C. Lee on Design Justice and Architecture’s Role in Systemic Racism

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In the rage, furor, and sorrow that followed the murder of George Floyd, one voice in the architecture community managed to put the nation’s centuries-overdue reckoning with race into the larger context of the built environment. Earlier this month, CityLab published architect Bryan C. Lee Jr.’s essay “America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress,” an impassioned polemic on design and race that also had the great virtue of offering up specific solutions.

Lee is the founder and design principal of Colloqate, a New Orleans–based design and public advocacy firm that was named an Emerging Voice in 2019 by the Architectural League of New York. Colloqate led the Paper Monuments project in 2017, a public art and public history campaign that was launched in conjunction with the successful fight to remove the Confederate statues in New Orleans. In addition to its advocacy work, the firm is currently working on architectural projects in Portland, Toronto, and New Orleans. Last week I talked with Lee about his essay, the charged moment that we’re in, and where the nation goes from here.

Displaced: Design for Inclusive Cities

Our world is witnessing a time of record migration and
displacement. According to the United Nations High
Commission for Refugees, there are now more than 60
million forcibly displaced people worldwide, the result
of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights
Cities are on the front lines of this global crisis. Sixty
to seventy percent of displaced people now live in
cities. As the number of urban displaced persons
grows, so does the moral imperative to welcome and
embrace them.
While immigrants and refugees face many challenges
in their new urban lives — language, access to
services, work and housing, cultural barriers — they
also bring new energy to our cities and economies.
Their success is our success.

2018 Better Philadelphia Challenge: The Next Parkway

The 2018 Better Philadelphia Challenge | $5,000 First Prize

This international urban design competition for university students is now open for registration. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Philadelphia's iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Center / Architecture + Design seeks creative concepts for what a new 'Parkway' could be in a dense and developed 21st-century city, connecting neighborhoods with nearby natural and cultural resources.

Is India's Plan to Build 100 Smart Cities Inherently Flawed?

The Indian Government’s Smart City Mission, launched in 2015, envisions the development of one hundred “smart cities” by 2020 to address the country’s rapid urbanization; thirty cities were added to the official list last week, taking the current total of planned initiatives to ninety. The $7.5-billion mission entails the comprehensive development of core infrastructure—water and electricity supply, urban mobility, affordable housing, sanitation, health, and safety—while infusing technology-based “smart solutions” to drive economic growth and improve the citizens’ quality of life in cities.

In a country bogged down by bureaucratic corruption, the mission has been commended for its transparent and innovative use of a nation-wide “City Challenge” to award funding to the best proposals from local municipal bodies. Its utopian manifesto and on-ground implementation, however, are a cause of serious concern among urban planners and policy-makers today, who question if the very idea of the Indian smart city is inherently flawed.