What does a just society look like? Often, it’s not about the things you notice first. A housing project might be built with every care paid to the needs of its future residents, but its impact will be limited if it doesn’t also have good transportation links, or if it is sited downwind of a wastewater treatment facility and with no access to green space.
In this episode of Design Now, we speak to people in and around Harvard’s Graduate School of Design who are thinking about social justice at all scales. At one end, there are the huge structural factors that designers must contend with: government policy, the climate crisis, ingrained prejudice and discrimination within both practice and pedagogy. At the more personal end of the scale, we hear about the conversations that designers are having with private clients every day, encouraging them to consider interests other than their own and to “soften the threshold” between private and community spaces.
Everyone featured in this episode has their own entry points and specialties, but they are united by a common thought: Designing for social justice is the work of a society, not any one individual.
DISCLAIMER: This episode was recorded in February, 2022. The guests’ titles and their affiliation to the school were accurate at the time of recording.
- 1:49 RMA Architects
- 4:20 Hathigaon housing project for Mahouts and their elephants, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
- 4:48 Interboro Partners
- 7:32 Atelier Masōmī
- 12:50 The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion
- 15:40 California’s ban on single-family zoning
- 19:57 Free route 23, 28, and 29 bus program – public transit as a public good
- 20:41 Washington State Transportation Bill of Rights
- 29:39 Becoming Urban – Research project by Rahul Mehrotra
- 30:00 Kinetic City – Book by Rahul Mehrotra