making architecture relevant header Joongsub Kim: Making Architecture Relevant

Sponsoring organization: National Endowment for the Arts
Collaborators: Detroit West Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic and the death of George Floyd shed new light on longstanding disparities that exist in low-income communities of color and impact their overall well-being. Architectural educators and practitioners across the United States are engaging in public discourse to debate the role that architecture should play in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and the architectural profession. This trend has motivated us to ask: How can architecture be made more relevant to underserved communities? This study investigates that question via the construct of mapping. Mapping is a mechanism for reflection, rediscovery, and reexamination of the familiar and self-discovery of the less familiar. To further explore how mapping can help make architecture more relevant to disadvantaged populations, we use a mobile mapping station (MMS)—a practical, hands-on, community-based project conducted in Detroit. This study focuses on MMSs, exploring how, when coupled with social justice values and equitable development principles, architecture can be made more accessible to broader populations.

Funding agencies: National Endowment for the Arts (urban design), Knight Foundation (art), and Michigan Humanities Council (education). Published in Architecture Journal, Switzerland: https://doi.org/10.3390/architecture2040034 Project conducted at the Detroit Studio: www.ltu.edu/detroitstudio

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