CoDesign Field Lab Black Belt Study for the Green New Deal

Biden’s historic win in Georgia, along with the disproportionate impacts of COVID and heightening vulnerability to climate change, bring into clear relief the critical and catalytic location of the US Black Belt region. As anti-racist planners and designers, how might we work within our own communities to align our creative purposes and practices with these powerful movements and changes based in the region? How to begin shifting our cultures, methods, and pedagogies away from white supremacy and intersecting oppressions of race, ethnicity, citizenship, class, gender, sexuality, and ableism to those based on reparation and care—social and ecological?  How to use our identity, skills, and power as planners and designers; accomplice local change leaders; and confront exploitative and extractive regimes of spatial development?
 
Sis·tered, sis·ter·ing, sis·ters (v). Architecture. To affix a beam or other structural member to (another) as a supplementary support. 
 
The Spring 2021 CoDesign Field Lab will “sister” with the Destination Design School of Agricultural Estates (DDSAE), led by the notable design activist, artist, and community developer Euneika Rogers-Sipp (Loeb ’16). "DDSAE is a full-service art, and community design school planned for the Black Belt region of Georgia at 10 partner site locations. DDSAE will celebrate and reimagine the profound culture and history of food, farming and hospitality through the creation of a Black Belt Reparations Design Residency and education center that can serve as a replicable model with a national ripple effect.” 
 
The CoDesign Field Lab research seminar will gather, analyze, synthesize, visualize, and narrate data—to make a case for the Black Belt region to continue its historical and continued trajectory of transformative formation as fount and staging grounds for the Green New Deal. Course objective include (1) mapping opportunities and assets in the Black Belt region that make it a critical and catalytic location for the Green New Deal—particularly related to food + fiber production, waste + energy systems, water + climate resilience, and mobility + access (including access to basic amenities, recreational spaces, and broadband); (2) consider regional stakeholders, decision makers, and resource holders along with power dynamics in affecting Green New Deal planning and implementation; and  (3) explore multi-scalar, multi-sector mechanisms for reparative planning and design, which seek to compensate for and heal past harms as well as radically repair forward in ways that serve the combined interests of climate activists, blue-collar workers, and frontline communities.