Days before the protests in Baltimore escalated, the African American Student Union (AASU) of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design hosted an urban design conference focused on social justice. Dana McKinney, the president of AASU, is focused on the fact that Harvard’s Design School simply does not offer courses that consider race and justice. Bryan Lee, 2014 “Member of the Year” for the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), eloquently describes the latter issue as:
“The issue is an ideology that finds its roots in architectural modernism, which eliminates ethnocultural and even sociocultural conditions from the variables that define quality architecture,” says Lee. “When we eliminate these essential considerations, we lose the ability for architecture to respond to the colloquial design languages of the people it serves.”
In Bertin Mock’s article for City Lab, “There Are No Urban Design Courses on Race and Justice, So We Made Our Own Syllabus,” he reached out to a handful of urban designers and architects to see what text’s they would suggest for a design course on race and justice. Some included: Aesthetics of Equity by Craig Wilkins, Urban Planning and the African-American Community by June Manning Thomas, and Race, Poverty, and American Cities by John Charles Boger.
Click here to see the full list of texts and to read the full article on City Lab.
Image courtesy of Patrick Semansky