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Design / Poverty

October 28, 2010 - 10:30am

Public symposium in the Jury Space
Knowlton School of Architecture
Audience: Students and faculty with interest in the topic from IPSC, Design, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Geography

Five KSA faculty members are among a consortium of scholars who have received research funding  from the International Poverty Solutions Collaborative (OSU-Centers of Innovation) for the 2010-11 academic year for “ReVisioning WP- engaged physical design to enrich Weinland Park.” Neighborhood residents are being surveyed, studied, and trained for employment, while significant fiscal resources are being dedicated by IPSC, the United Way of Central Ohio, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Columbus Foundation, the Godman Guild, and Campus Partners. The Neighborhood Design Center is providing master plans for Weinland Park and 2 other impoverished neighborhoods in Columbus. Coordinating the varying objectives of stakeholders has raised challenges to market forces and assumptions about the nature of poverty. Who is at risk, and what design efforts can change the systemic problems that have witnessed recent growth rather than diminution of Americans in poverty?

These facts and research endeavors provoke the question: “What does DESIGN have to do with POVERTY?”

When the FSA (Farm Security Administration) employed photographer Dorothea Lange to portray the victims of the Great Depression in the 1930s, she presented the faces of poverty with dignity.  The well-known portrait of Florence Thompson with two of her seven children became an “icon of resilience in the face of adversity.” How do we perceive and represent impoverished citizens today?  Who are our poor, how does design contribute to or alleviate poverty’s impacts on the city. How can citizens participate in solutions to current economic realities? What responsibilities do we have as designers to alter the physical environment in urban areas like Weinland Park?

Panelists will briefly present their work in areas with implications for design and social justice:
• MORPC, IPSC and KSA research –introduced by KB Jones
• Amanda Roelle (Archeworks) Talking head in video: Mobile Food Cart and Venice Biennale
• EJ Thomas: (Habitat for Humanity)
• Charisma Acey: (CRP) Public Participation GIS and Opportunity Mapping
• Susan Melsop: (Design) participatory design and the Central Community House
• Matthew Persinger: (KSA-Yale M.Arch) Yale Design/Build program

Open discussion
(video taped)

EJ Thomas   ej@ejthomas.us
Charisma Acey   acey.1@osu.edu
Susan Melsop   melsop.3@osu.edu
Matthew Persinger   matthew.persinger@gmail.com