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Urban Equity: The Latest Architecture and News

Heatherwick Studio Launches New Health Street Initiative

With many high streets hollowing out and the National Health Services Association pushed to its limits, Heatherwick Studio is calling for a new kind of health space in metropolitan cities. The Health Street initiative is placed right at the heart of urban communities, reimagining the way we look at well-being and the holistic health of complete localities. Moreover, this radical approach to health creation is based on integrating community-led facilities into the local high streets.

Under the Surface: The Complicated History of Public Swimming Pools

The end of the summer season is usually marked by crowds rushing to public pools to enjoy their final days splashing around the water. Public pools are much more complex than the fenced-in, chlorinated, and noisy bodies of water that they may seem to be. A delicate history and many socio-economic influences lie beneath the surface and dictate who gets to go for a swim. What happens when pools shift towards becoming private property and a sort of status symbol, and when these public spaces aren’t intended for everyone?

How Internet Connectivity Impacts Urban Inequity

If you’re reading this right now, or have read an article on ArchDaily, it’s because you were in a place that enabled you to connect to the internet. Think about a time when you found yourself in a dead zone, where the internet was lagging and you were unable to connect your computer to WiFi to finish an assignment or even without the ability to connect your phone to quickly Google something. You likely dashed to the nearest coffee shop, or place where WiFi was more reliable, just to have the feeling of being online again. The internet, in an ideal world, is equally open to all providing access to knowledge and the ability to easily connect with others. But what happens when you don’t have internet? How is your life impacted if you’re on the wrong side of the digital divide and live in an area without broadband access?

What is Design Justice?

What is Design Justice? - Featured Image
Asentamiento de Kya Sands en Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica. Photo © Johnny Miller Fotografía

Design Justice is a branch of architecture and design focused on redesigning cities, products, services and environments with historic reparations in mind.

The term emerged about 7 years ago when debates and dialogues about inclusion and diversity in spaces started to get stronger, creating movements that fought for the rights of people who had their roots and choices denied in society.

Design Ethics: Rethinking Practice in 2021

Ethical practice spans all parts of architecture. From intersectionality and labor to the climate crisis, a designer must work with a range of conditions and contexts that inform the built environment and the process of its creation. Across cultures, policies and climates, architecture is as much functional and aesthetic as it is political, social, economic, and ecological. By addressing the ethics of practice, designers can reimagine the discipline's impact and who it serves. 

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What is Equity in Architecture and Design?

The definition of equity in dictionaries is the quality of giving equal treatment to everyone while still acknowledging the differences between individuals. In this sense, equity means fairness in the way we act toward each person but keeping in mind his or her specific characteristics and needs. From a medical perspective, equity implies that everyone needs care and attention but not necessarily the same. It is also worth mentioning that the terms equity and equality are often used interchangeably but they mean different things, mainly because equality is based on the principle of universal rights, in which all individuals are subject to the same rules, without exception.

Rights to the City and Urban Conflicts in Latin America: What Can Be Done?

María Cristina Cravino, the head of numerous research projects and publications on informal settlements and the politics of public habitation, draws from her background in anthropology to become one of the most prominent voices in the discussion about rights to the city and modern urban conflicts. 

To get her perspective, we sat down with Cravino to discuss her observations and understanding of the issue--especially in the context of quarantine and lockdowns--as well as her reflections on the role of academia in exploring the problem and finding solutions. 

Are Our Cities Built for the Youth?

Cities we live in today have been built on principles designed decades ago, with prospects of ensuring that they are habitable by everyone. Throughout history, cities have been catalysts of economic growth, serving as focal points for businesses and migration. However, in the last decade, particularly during the last couple of years, the world has  witnessed drastic reconfigurations in the way societies work, live, and commute.

Today’s urban fabric highlights two demographic patterns: rapid urbanization and large youth populations. Cities, although growing in scale, have in fact become younger, with nearly four billion of the world’s population under the age of 30 living in urban areas, and by 2030, UN-Habitat expects 60% of urban populations to be under the age of 18. So when it comes to urban planning and the future of cities, it is evident that the youth should be part of the conversation.

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Addressing the Intersecting Challenges of Climate Crisis, Housing, and Social Equity

Recent sessions of the RBA/Northeastern University Myra Kraft Open Classroom Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Inspiring Places in America series featured speakers from Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City. They described how inclusive design can help build social infrastructure and capital, enabling communities to tackle big challenges such as climate change, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and homelessness. Their comments reinforced the value of visionary leadership, engaging and empowering people, and design thinking—all key themes from previous sessions on Planning Equity, Engaging Communities via Food and Education, and Building Equity with Housing and Parks.

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.

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