The Black New Deal [M1]

The Black New Deal Studio is a Design Justice course exploring the architecture made manifest as a result of privilege and power structures that define this nations overlapping histories and systems of racial/spatial violence. We recognize that our values are validated by the spaces and places we design. For nearly every injustice, there is an architecture, plan, design that sustains it. Truly acknowledging, assessing, and responding to the complex racialized political systems that drive both our spatial realities and our spatial imaginaries, is perhaps, the most direct way for architects to move past the inherent position of complicity into one of anti racist action.

In this studio we are endeavoring to confront the new typologies of liberation born from dismantling systems of oppression. What physical spaces must we create on the other side of freedom. Students will commit to a continuous community design effort throughout the module. This is an exercise in deep listening and cultural understanding. Students will be expected to work both collaboratively and independently during the course. We will operate with an appreciation for lived experiences of the many communities we engage with throughout. We will engage with a bias towards appropriate action given the timeline of the project.

The studio is setup as two classes per week which will be divided to allow appropriate time to effectively bind community organizing methodologies and design justice practices to the building design. We will have at least one weekly guest speaker to help ground our efforts in first hand accounts of the issues on the ground in community. Fieldwork and research will be done collectively while your primary project will be done individually. Performance in the studio will be gauged by attendance, total engagement through out the module, and the radical
adherence to the voice of the community in the design of the end product. The studio critic will be available during the studio hours and during collectively determined times that allow for student flexibility. We will additionally setup a class communication channel with a select set of available hours aligned with the needs of students. A TA will be assigned to assist with session preparation and be available to manage a class notion page (Or similar to archive resources and group discussions.

The Outline of assignments is as follows:
1. Groundsetting documentation (week 1)
– A whole class collective Documentation effort that is intended to gather all of the preexisting conditions off place in order to better understand what questions have not
been asked and to clearly assess the geospatial perimeters and sociocultural parameters of place
– This work will be made publicly accessible via a format collectively determined.

2. Powermapping (week 2-4)
– Small groups will dive into the analysis of systems that drive outcomes of injustice to create a comprehensive power map
– The powermapping excercise will live on as a community artifact designed to support movement work happening both locally and nationally

3. Project (week 2-7)
– The promise of protopian spaces is infact an expectation of the design justice movement. As Angela Davis notes you have to act as if it were possible to radically change the world,
and you have to do it all the time.
– Small collective project teams will build out a typological library of spatial responses to a selected set of injustices as defined by a history of movements and the local voices on the ground.
– Your primary focus will be an Individual detailed midsized project, based in the case study city of Trenton, NJ, employing the strategies of design justice that focus on visioning radical spaces of racial, social, and cultural liberation.

GSD students may view additional information on option studios:
Option Studio Presentations
Schedule for Zoom Q&A sessions