Context - Spring 2016 - (Page 7)
By Sally HarriSon, AIA, AssocIAte Professor,
temPle UnIversIty tyler school of Art
elizaBetH Miller, execUtIve dIrector
commUnIty desIgn collABorAtIve
Context gUest edItors
2016...It is nearly 50 years since civil rights leader Whitney M. Young,
Jr. addressed the AIA Convention. He excoriated our profession for distinguishing itself in "thunderous silence" and inaction on social issues,
especially in the face of profound degradation of urban neighborhoods
while most of our country thrived. His speech hit home. It was a call to
activism for architects and our allied professions, and helped advance
work already percolating in universities and ad hoc design groups
around the country. Soon community design centers were funded and
charged to offer professional design services; charrettes became the
crucible for dynamic engaged design; and our partnerships with the
newly emerging community development corporations were formed.
Today we are experiencing an exciting second growth in our profession's commitment to design practice in the public interest. The Context
editorial board chose "Design and Social Justice" as the focus of this issue
in order to examine the evolving role of architects, and to highlight new
models of community-engaged practice in our region. In Philadelphia
- the seat of American democracy - there are vibrant coalitions of "old
heads" and young advocates comprising not just architects, but also
landscape architects, planners and artists - all working hand in glove
with communities in true co-design partnerships.
The issue reports on the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and
Design and its affiliates the Community Design Collaborative (now in
its 25th year) and the Charter School for Architecture and Design - two
organizations engaged in on-going outreach to our broader community.
We profile outstanding social impact projects of chapter firms that demonstrate the commitment to building innovative, humane, and beautiful
work within the framework of limited budgets and complex processes.
And we reflect on Philadelphia's most heralded polymath, Ben Franklin,
who saw the purpose of design innovation as means of broadly advancing democracy through the "cultural commons."
Our feature articles cast a wide net. We look at "Design and Social
Justice" through the lens of Equity, Innovation, and Practice. We engage
the next generation of leaders in the community development world in a
roundtable discussion on the future of their sector, asking what it needs
from designers. We look at how potent, innovative small-scale tactical
interventions can catalyze social activity in neighborhoods awaiting
long-term change. We zero in on design practice and the row house,
Philadelphia's affordable housing typology that is sustainable, livable,
and remarkably amenable to creative interpretation.
Since 1968 we have made progress in engaging our profession in
a quest to build a just city. But there is so much more to be done. ■
Whitney M. Young, 1968 AIA Convention keynote speaker.
AIA Philadelphia | context | SPRING 2016
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Context - Spring 2016
Equity: The Intersection of Community Development and Design
Innovation: Tactical Urbanism in Underserved Communities
Practice: The Rowhouse: Reimagined and Relevant
Index to Advertisers
Context - Spring 2016