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Urban Equity: The Latest Architecture and News

MoMA Launches Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

The Museum of Modern Art has launched Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, the fourth installment of the Issues in Contemporary Architecture series. Investigating the intersections of architecture, Blackness and anti–Black racism in the American context, the exhibition and accompanying publication examine contemporary architecture in the context of how systemic racism has fostered violent histories of discrimination and injustice in the United States.

Film still of R:R. 2020. Image Courtesy of V. Mitch McEwenReconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. Image Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, Robert GerhardtReconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. Image Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, Robert GerhardtFabricating Networks: Transmissions and Receptions from Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Image Courtesy of Felecia Davis+ 7

Building Empathy: Zarith Pineda on Human-Centered Design and New Territories

Human-centered design places people at the center of our cities. Using this philosophy to rethink traditional approaches to planning, the architectural and urban designer Zarith Pineda founded Territorial Empathy. Pineda's research lab specializes in mitigating urban conflict through architectural interventions. Over the last few years, her team has been working to create a deeper understanding of equity and empathy.

Courtesy of Territorial EmpathyCourtesy of Territorial EmpathyCourtesy of Territorial EmpathyCourtesy of Territorial Empathy+ 14

Architecture Has Limits to Achieve Urban Equity. What Should We Do?

Accessibility and mobility. When perceived through the architectural lens, these terms often evoke a range capped by two extremes. On the one end, the flexibility of circulation systems; the universality of egress networks; and the technicalities of minimums and maximums. On the other end, a project’s capacity to support broad ranges of socioeconomic narratives; its malleability in the face of rapid fluctuations of program and function; and its reactivity in maintaining a productive role amidst the ebbs and flows of societal dynamics. 

Planning For (In)Justice: Toni Griffin’s Mission to Foster Equitable Cities

Griffin founded the consultancy Urban Planning for the American City, which she complements with her pedagogical work at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Since its emergence with the cultural turn in the 1970s and ’80s, spatial justice has become a rallying cry among activists, planners, and plugged-in architects. But as with many concepts with academic origins, its precepts often remain elusive and uninterrogated. Though some of this has changed with the advent of city- and place-making discourse, few are doing as much to lend articulation, nuance, and malleability to spatial justice as Toni Griffin. A Chicago native, Griffin practiced architecture at SOM for nearly a decade before leaving the city to work as a planner in Newark and Washington, D.C., among other municipalities. In 2009, she founded the consultancy Urban Planning for the American City, which she complements with her pedagogical work at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. There, she runs the Just City Lab, which, through research and a host of programs, aims to develop, disseminate, and evaluate tools for enhancing justice—and remediating chronic, systematized injustice—in America’s cities. But what form could justice take in the U.S. context, and how can architects and designers help? Metropolis spoke with Griffin about how focusing on inclusivity and embracing interdependence and complexity are parts of the answer.