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Community: Projects that seek for the integration of systematically marginalized communities

New City Design shared a recent article about Open Architecture Chicago which is a derivation of The Open Architecture Collaborative, a non profit organization that focuses on building projects regarding community. This group acts as an intermediary between systematically marginalized communities and professional practitioners.

“More specifically, the organization develops educational programming for designers and architects to grow as leaders and changemakers, while also producing placemaking programs with community developers and associations to inspire ownership and civic engagement”.

‘Available City’ is the theme for the Chicago Architecture Biennial this year, which for Craig Stevenson, co-chair for Open Architecture Chicago, is a “metaphysical call to action to continue to create and anchor the beloved community spatially”. Stevenson is well-known for the development of projects that promote equitable, human-centered, sustainable co-design within Chicago communities.

Stevenson discusses ‘Under the Grid’: a project led by artist Haman Cross “with the goal of transforming lots under the elevated railroads connecting four train stations in Lawndale into a continuously evolving art exhibit and walkable greenway connecting parts of the city”.

“I’m excited about the young people who are getting introduced to this work with Under the Grid. Almost every project has some sort of true youth or community-led component. At Open Architecture Chicago we like to use the term “everyday designer.” We love to point back to the communities that we work with and say you are really the ones doing the work. It is a multigenerational effort to build a thriving community. To see the faces of individuals when their creative ideas manifest, and better the lives of others, especially beyond our own imagination and intentionality, is why we do the work”, says Stevenson.

At MKThink we are also working on projects that look to involve urban design and planning with the needs of today such as health and equity. We appreciate initiatives developed by nonprofits like Open Architecture Chicago that promote participation and the generation of ideas to improve cities. We look forward to working in collaboration with these groups.

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